The US gambling industry is immense. For many states, it makes up a substantial portion of their economy, funding government coffers with revenue they’d be hard pressed to do without. With President Trump heading into office next month, many are wondering what the casino mogul might do for the future of their business.
There are a lot of ‘firsts‘ that come with the election of Donald Trump as the nation’s latest navigator. For one, he will be the very fist President to have ever owned a casino – let alone a handful of them. His leadership could potentially have a major impact on hot topics like internet gambling, sports betting and daily/season-long fantasy sports.
Long-time lobbyist Kirk Blalock of Fierce Government Relations sees President Trump playing a positive role in the US gambling economy. Trump “comes to the table with a good, solid understanding of how the industry works and what the challenges are,” said Blalock.
AGA’s Wish List
The American Gaming Association (AGA) has made it’s wish list, checked it twice, and delivered it to the desk of soon-to-be President Trump. It’s a rather long list, at that.
According to The Associated Press, the AGA is asking for legalization of sports betting, tougher laws against illegal gambling, fewer restrictions on legal forms of gambling, reforming of tax laws, and a new immigration policy that’s just lenient enough to allow gamblers (and workers) from overseas to access US casinos.
US Sports Betting Expansion in the Cards?
At present, sports betting is only legal in four US states, Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon, and that’s only because they elected to grandfather it in when PASPA came about in 1992. Some states, however – most notably New Jersey – are now wishing they could offer sports betting at their casinos.
Due to federal laws, that’s not an option, as NJ Gov. Chris Christie found after after a multi-year, multi-appeal endeavor to get the activity legalized in his home state. It seems nothing short of federal legislation is going to change that fact, either.
Even more states are poring over how to deal with the issue of Daily Fantasy Sports. While many consider it a game of skill, others continue to see it as pure gambling.
Expansion on those fronts could be in the cards. Trump told reporters back in late 2015 that he sees nothing wrong with traditional sports betting or fantasy sports. “I’m okay with it because it’s happening anyway,” he said.
Trump’s Stance on iGaming Blurry
Unlike Canada, online gambling sites that are not regulated in the United States are prohibited from accepting American players. And as of now, only three US states (Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey) have acquiesced to the legalization, regulation and – of course, taxation – of internet wagering.
Where President Trump stands on the matter is difficult to say. On the one hand, he has fellow casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, a hard-core anti-online-gambling campaigner, in his back pocket. On the other hand, Donald and his own daughter, Ivanka, founded a New Jersey company with the intent of exploring online gambling options before the activity was legalized in 2013.
The last time Trump gave any indication of his feelings towards internet gambling was back in September, when he actually gave no indication at all. “I have a lot of friends on both sides of the issue,” he said, confirming that he hadn’t formed his own opinion just yet.