Posted on: January 31, 2024, 03:47h.
Last updated on: January 31, 2024, 03:47h.
During a visit to Las Vegas last Saturday, former President and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump reportedly met with several well-heeled Republican donors, including Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta of Red Rock Resorts (NASDAQ: RRR).
Citing unidentified sources with knowledge of the matter, Politico reported the Fertittas, along with Don Ahern and Robert Bigelow, committed to donating to Trump’s 2024 presidential bid. The publication didn’t reveal how much those donors are contributing. Ahern is a Nevada resident. He made his fortune in the equipment rental business.
Red Rock Chairman and CEO Frank Fertitta III and his brother, Vice Chairman Lorenzo, are longtime donors to Republican candidates — something that’s long drawn the ire of the Culinary Union. That union and others representing Nevada casino workers are large supporters of Democrat candidates.
In the 2022 midterm election, the Culinary Union didn’t endorse any Republican candidates, but the labor group eagerly campaigned for, contributed to, and endorsed congressional Democrats in Nevada that supported policies that could be burdensome to union members. For example, there’s speculation that the addition of tens of thousands of new IRS — a policy supported by Democrats in Nevada’s congressional delegation — could be harmful to workers that rely on tips to supplement their incomes.
The Fertittas aren’t new Trump supporters, but their cash for the 2024 race is meaningful and could signal that with the GOP primary field all but cleared, more donors from the business community are increasingly comfortable with the former president becoming the next president.
As of mid-2023, the Fertittas have donated $5.23 million to various Trump-affiliated campaign entities since 2016, with one member of the family contributing $207K to the Trump Inaugural Committee following the 2016 election.
Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta derive a significant portion of their wealth UFC. They acquired the mixed martial arts series for $2 million in 2001 and sold it in 2016 for $4 billion.
Speaking of UFC, Trump has a a long-standing relationship with President Dana White. The two met at Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa last July prior to attending “UFC 290” at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip. Several UFC fighters and throngs of fans are overt Trump supporters.
Gaming Industry Showing Some Support for Trump
In addition to the Fertittas reportedly opening their checkbooks for Trump, former Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) CEO Steve Wynn was spotted at Trump’s New Hampshire primary victory party earlier this month. Last night, Trump held a fundraiser at the home of hedge fund manager John Paulson, who has previously invested in gaming equities.
Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta, a relative of Frank and Lorenzo, has previously supported Trump though it remains to be seen to what extent, if any, he’ll do so this year.
As things stand today in the world of casino industry campaign contributions, the “prize” remains Dr. Miriam Adelson. The largest individual shareholder in Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) received the presidential medal of freedom from Trump and has spoken glowingly of the former president, but she has yet to declare the extent of her financial support for his 2024 campaign.