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There are two people running for the position of the next President of the United States in the main and most well-known political parties: Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party and Donald Trump of the Republican Party. Neither has given much lip service to the topic of online gambling, though Clinton did address the issue in a broad way while campaigning in Nevada.

Both have confronted the issue of gambling on various levels in their past careers in politics or business, and associated statements and actions can be used to deduce their possible stances on internet poker.


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Hillary Clinton

Just before her years as a United States Senator representing New York, Clinton supported an expansion of the gambling industry via a tribal casino in the Catskills and a new casino in Niagara Falls. However, during her time in the Senate, she voted for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006, which was pinned to the SAFE Port Act.

During Clinton’s first bid for the presidency in 2008, however, she did have a great amount of support from casino lobbyists and campaign associates who had strong ties to Harrah’s and MGM. And at that time, she supported Nevada legislator Shelley Berkley’s legislative proposal to study internet gambling to see if it could be fairly regulated for customer safety and viability in the international market.

This year, during the height of her campaigning in Nevada in February, she was asked by a Nevada Public Radio journalist about her stance on Internet gaming. She responded: “I have concerns about internet gaming. I think those concerns are being aired and looked at by a number of states as well as the federal government. I think we have to be sure that if we’re doing internet gaming there is some level of regulation and accountability as there is with real world, on the ground gaming here in Las Vegas and elsewhere.”

Best guess: Clinton is likely to support online gaming on the state level as long as consumer protections are paramount in the legislation. As for a federal ban like the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), she is likely to be on the opposite side of the issue from Sheldon Adelson, which means she would oppose an online gaming ban.

Donald Trump

Trump has few formal statements on the most prominent issues of the day, so a position paper on gambling is unlikely to appear in the near future. However, his past businesses have depended significantly on land-based casino gambling in Atlantic City. He eventually shut down his Trump Plaza casino there and sold his Trump Taj Mahal to Carl Icahn, but before that happened, Forbes noted that he said online gambling “has to happen because many other countries are doing it and like usual the US is just missing out.”

Times have changed since he began his campaign for the presidency, though, and he will mostly likely be tied to Sheldon Adelson, who is notoriously opposed to online gaming in America. In May of this year, Adelson endorsed and reportedly told Trump that he would be willing to donate as much as $100 million or more to help him win the November presidential election. This is widely regarded as being attached to a condition that Trump would support Adelson’s efforts to ban online gambling, as Adelson does little without ensuring that his core beliefs are shared by the candidates he supports.

The latest news that links Trump with Adelson is the campaign’s new communications coordinator, who was announced to be Michael Abboud. If the last name sounds familiar, it is because his uncle, Andy Abboud, is the vice-president of government relations for none other than Las Vegas Sands, Adelson’s company. The older of the Abbouds has often testified at various hearings against online gambling, usually with misconstrued and sometimes downright erroneous information about online poker.

By the November election, Adelson may have so many connections to Trump that Adelson will practically be writing campaign speeches for the candidate.

Best guess: Trump is likely to support RAWA and urge members of Congress to support the online gambling ban as well. Despite previous ties to casinos, he no longer seems to maintain any loyalty to the gambling industry.

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.