A new report from Pro Publica reveals that President Donald Trump last year personally lobbied Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to approve a casino project from top Republican donor Sheldon Adelson.
Two sources tell Pro Publica that Trump floated Adelson's proposed casino to the Japanese prime minister during a dinner at the president's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
"It was totally brought up out of the blue," said one source. "They were a little incredulous that he would be so brazen."
The source went on to explain that Abe mostly stayed silent as Trump pitched him on approving the Adelson casino's license application, and that he "didn’t really respond, and said thank you for the information."
Japan only recently opened up its country to legalized gambling, which has led to a rush of casino companies bidding to build in what Pro Publica describes as the last major untapped market for the legalized gambling industry.
"Nearly every major casino company in the world is competing to secure one of a limited number of licenses to enter a market worth up to $25 billion per year," Pro Publica writes.
The publication also notes that Adelson has recently told his investors to expect "good news" from his efforts to win a license to build a casino in Japan.