When Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts he kept his distance from gambling. He turned down donations from the gaming industry for his privately underwritten inaugural gala. And though he initially supported allowing the establishment of slot parlors in order to close a $3 billion state deficit, he later announced he would not consider an expansion of gambling and decried the “social costs associated with gaming.” On the presidential campaign trail this year, Romney similarly declared that he opposed online poker because “of the social costs and people’s addictive gambling habits.” He explained, “I don’t want to increase access to gaming. (Read more…) I feel that we have plenty of access to gaming right now through the various casinos and establishments that exist.”
As a onetime bishop of the Mormon church—which opposes gambling, including state-sponsored lotteries—Romney’s lack of enthusiasm about legalized gambling is hardly surprising. Yet such reservations did not hinder him when he was a mega-financier. While Romney ran Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded, he owned a Bain-affiliated investment fund that bet heavy on betting.
In March 1999, shortly after Romney departed Bain to run the 2002 Winter Olympics, Brookside Capital Investors Inc., a Bain-related entity wholly owned by Romney, filed a document with the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing the investments held the past quarter in its $559 million portfolio. On this roster were 1.2 million shares of GTECH Holdings Corp., then valued at $29 million. The company billed itself in its 1999 annual report as “a leading global supplier of systems and services to the lottery and gaming/entertaining industries.” This description put it mildly; GTECH was the world’s largest supplier of computer equipment for lotteries. It operated about 30 of 37 state lotteries in the United States, along with lotteries in England, Israel, Turkey, Australia, and other countries. It also was teaming up with big gaming firms to buy or revamp casinos and race tracks, adding and upgrading gambling equipment at these venues.
[VIA MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones]