Many people I talk to cannot believe that online gambling and poker is illegal in most States of the USA and some that are aware of this fact, assume that because Donald Trump was a casino owner then he will put all this right, how wrong can they be?
I am convinced that thousands, if not tens of thousands of Americans voted for Trump in the belief that he will legalize online gambling. Take, for example; poker professional Mike ‘the mouth’ Matusow who has 105,000 twitter followers. Now, whilst this guy is not known for his intellect, in the run-up to the election he tweeted:
Now, members of the jury, before I can lay out my case, I need to make you aware of one person. This person is (according to Forbes) the richest man in 50 of the States of America, he is the 14th or 16th richest man in the World (depending on who you read), his name is Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is the founder, owner and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation. He owns the Sands Casino in Las Vegas, casinos in Singapore, Macau, and much more. His worth is put at over $32 billion (Forbes). He is rich, yes, but he is also vehemently anti-online gambling and he has put his money where his mouth is, he has spent millions trying to stop online gambling in the USA. He is constantly using his influence and power (money) to get a bill passed through congress, that bill is RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act) which effectively would make online gambling at the Federal level (freely across the USA States borders) illegal. Phew!, hope that lot makes sense, now for the next bit….
So, it makes obvious sense that if there is a finite amount of money that people can spend on gambling and at the moment the majority of outlets where Americans can gamble are casinos, made of bricks and mortar, then the owners of those businesses would see online gambling as a threat. And therefore, it also makes sense that casino owners in the USA would like a President that would protect their interests, (i.e. stop online gambling). Bear with me….
The Republican Party is by and large anti-online gambling. Sheldon Adelson has backed Republican Presidential candidates before. He and his family backed Newt Gingrich for $24 million, he backed Mitt Romney against Barack Obama with $34 million. In February 2012, Adelson told Forbes magazine:
“I am against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections. But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it.”
And he did, he backed Trumps election bid with a statement that he would put up $100 million (though it is thought he didn’t use such a large sum).
In December 2015, Adelson purchased the newspaper The Las Vegas Review Journal for an over-inflated price of $140 million. This newspaper got behind the Republican Party and later Trumps Presidential campaign. The online website ggbnews.com is a weekly newsletter produced by the publishers of the respected Global Gaming Business Magazine. Ggbnews stated:
“Some sources tell GGB that in exchange for the endorsement of the Review Journal, Trump promised not to oppose the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), Adelson’s pet bill that would ban iGaming in the U.S.”
When Trump became the Presidential Candidate, the Republican Party appointed Michael Abboud as Trump’s Communications Co-ordinator, Michael is the nephew of Andy Abboud and Andy Abboud is the Vice President of Government Relations for the Las Vegas Sands Casino (yes, that’s right, the casino owned by Sheldon Adelson).
Ok, let me calm down a bit……., sure, he (Trump), needed backers and people in positions of power to give him a leg-up in the World’s biggest political race and why not turn to his wealthy casino owning pals, but once he got in (won the Presidency) he would probably forget these guys, right? Wrong!
On January 20th 2017, President Elect Donald J. Trump will be sworn in and in true Trump fashion he is planning a huge inauguration party, Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci has said that Elton John will be playing, little does he know that ‘our’ Elton cannot be bought, in fact Elton John has just issued a statement to that effect. But they have the cash to get an ‘A-lister’ and it is said that the cost of the festivities will be over $50 million and the Trump camp has formed an Inauguration Committee, and the head of that committee is, yep, you guessed it! Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam. There are others though, how about Steve Wynne, the Las Vegas casino mogul. Or, what about Trumps pal, Phil Ruffin (Trump was his best man) a racetrack owner and oh yes, the owner of Treasure Island Casino and New Frontier casino.
Ok, so his pals who just happen to be casino owners are throwing him a party, but in political circles his most trusted will not have any anti-online gambling agendas will they? Yes, they will! Trump is, at the time of me having this conspiracy-theory-mental-breakdown, announcing his cabinet. Let’s take Tom Cotton (Aransas Senator) who is being considered for Defense Secretary, what is his stance on online gambling? Well, Cotton was a co-signer of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) and put a similar bill forward last September (remember, that’s the bill that will kill online gambling). Or, how about Senator Jeff Sessions, who has been appointed as Attorney General, Sessions was a supporter of the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act 1997. Recently, Sessions has had little to say with regards online gambling, so it is unclear where his thoughts on the subject would now be. However, if RAWA ever fails to get through congress, he (Sessions) has the power to reverse the 2011 Department Of Justice ruling that the America Wire Act, when applied to online gambling, only covers sports betting at the Federal level allowing State by State decision on online gambling (thus making online gambling illegal in America with just a memo). Phew, for fuck’s sake this is complicated. Even Vice President Mike Pence has history with billionnair Adelson. Pence wrote (when he was Indiana Governor) to the Indiana State’s congressional delegates urging them to support the Adelson-backed RAWA bill.
The online gambling and poker news sites are split on how they see a Trump presidency affecting online gambling and one site (onlinepokerreport.com) ran these two headlines just 4 days apart!
“A Trump Presidency Is Not Good News For The Advancement Of US Online Gambling”
“President-Elect Donald Trump And Online Poker: There Are Grounds For Optimism”
The President Elect has a website (greatagain.gov) and it is ‘10th Amendment heavy’, on the home page it states:
“He will defend Americans’ fundamental rights to free speech, religious liberty, keeping and bearing arms, and all other rights guaranteed to them in the Bill of Rights and other constitutional provisions. This includes the Tenth Amendment guarantee that many areas of governance are left to the people and the States, and are not the role of the federal government to fulfil”.
Therefore, Trump is going to come under so much scrutiny and scorn if he backs RAWA or instructs the Attorney General to get involved in the matter or in any way assists in bringing forward a ban in online gambling at the Federal level, instead of allowing as his site says, “States to decide their own governance”, which would mean every State in the USA could legalise online gambling should they wish.
One thing is for sure, never in the history of the gambling industry, be that live or online, has a US President had such close ties to the industry. Trump went bankrupt with the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City a couple of years ago (albeit after he stripped millions from the casino company and made the casino workers jobless and pension-less). In fact, his friend and billionaire Carl Icahn bought the casino out of bankruptcy at a discount, guess what? Mrs Icahn is on the Inauguration committee, just a coincidence, right?
Look, I am not an educated chap, I just have this tiny little poker news site to voice my opinion, on what for most is so irrelevant in what is going on in the World. However, it is a subject that I know a little about, the above is just a minute piece of what Trump is involved in. My opinion…. is he bent? HELL YES! Is he self-serving?, HELL YES! Do I think it will affect us in the UK? Not greatly, the restrictions in USA online gaming won’t, but what I am trying to say is this; if I, as a simple Mancunian can do 20 minutes research on google and come up with a tiresome body of text that shows that this guy is surrounded by people that hold commercial agendas that Trump is without doubt attuned to, what else will he do for his share of the USA global $ ……. ?
My predictions for the next decade:
No change in US online gambling legislation.
Indian reservations which have casino gambling will take a hit.
Atlantic City casinos will be taken from the New Jersey State and operated by a conglomerate of business interests headed by Adelson and then Trump (when he leaves office: maximum date – 2021).
Trump will open 4 hotel casinos in Russia (his son will).
Trump (his son) will open the biggest hotel/casino in Cuban history.
Trump will do something really, really wrong.
In 2019 President Trump’s hairpiece will seek asylum in Cornwall, United Kingdon, where local fisherman ‘Hilltop’ Ferdy will hold a televised press conference, professing his love for the blonde locks that almost make a fringe, the conference will be interrupted by Nigel Farage diving onto the stage in an attempt to digest the hair-ball, screaming “he said it would be all mine!”
Prime Ministers Ant & Deck will be lauded by the 4 countries that now make up The European Union as ‘peacemakers’ when they arrest Farage and offer the outgoing President the keys to London. President-Elect Andy Abboud closes all but one casino in the World stating in his pre-inaugural speech “we need a level playing field!”