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Monday, June 13, 2016

If Elected President Will Donald Trump Endorse Nationwide Legal Online Gambling In The United States?

There has been plenty of press over the last several years indicating that Trump is a proponent of legalizing online gambling in the United States. Back in  2011 a Forbes article identified Trump as a proponent of "Online" gambling. His associating with the online poker business Ultimate Gaming  also indicates that he is interested in the online gambling space. Trump has also been involved in the land based casino business  having launched land based casino's in New Jersey. This indicates that Trump is not adverse to "Playing" the gambling card if he wants to fund certain US projects but is constrained by outstanding debt. 

To date he has not mentioned this association in his current bid to obtain the Republican bid for the white house. However, with current US debt is 13.8 billion dollars and   no signs of  decreasing his "trump" card could be to promote online gambling for the purpose of raising tax revenue to fund specific projects and initiatives. His endorsement of online gambling may also be leveraged to raise campaign funds from businesses interested in launching gambling venues in the US. 

Another factor impacting his decision on online gambling is Sheldon Adelson's stated opposition to online gambling in the US . Sheldon is also a land based casino operator with political connections that has flip-flopped on the online gambling subject.  It is still not entirely clear why Sheldon, a one time proponent to online gambling, has recently turned so negative on its proliferation in the US. However, Sheldon is a heavy hitter in terms of his wealth and political clout. With this said, his proposed legislation banning online gambling in the US has gone nowhere in congress. Clearly, someone with bigger pockets has decided that federal online gambling may indeed  be a very good source of tax revenue.  Also, Trump is competitive and  has a mind of his own which may factor into his support of online gambling in the US despite Sheldon's current position on online gambling. 

European online gambling regimes also need to be taken into account  when evaluating Trumps potential endorsement of online gambling legislation.  Europe has a hodgepodge of successful offshore hosted online gambling in Malta, Alderney and Gibraltar and country based online gaming. For instance The UK has a long tradition of offering legal online gambling which is generating hundreds of million pounds per year.  To date we have not seen any rollback of these venues. In fact many online properties are thriving and meaningful tax revenue is being generated by these properties.  

Trump has no fear when it comes to controversial issues. Online gambling certainly has been controversial in the US. However, it can also be a great source or revenue and jobs in the US. Restricting gambling to land based venues is a bit silly and arcane and there is no proof that online gambling has any negative impact on land based gaming revenues. The world has moved on and Trump may very well play this card if he is elected.

Kevin Flood is the CEO of Gameinlane, Inc. Gameinlane  has developed, launched and operated Internet gambling sites in Europe,  social casino,   freemium and subscription gaming in the US.   The company engages with land based casino  operators, online gambling operators, social casino operator and game developers to assist them in determining their strategy and implementation  of game content in an online context.   Kevin has worked for and with US land based casino operators helping them evaluate social casino and iGaming platforms for the purpose of joint ventures and acquisitions in addition to launching online gambling operations in Europe. Gameinlane is also startup "friendly" understanding the unique value new gaming companies bring to the marketplace.  Kevin frequently speaks at gaming conferences around the world providing him with a unique perspective on this very interesting business sector. Kevin can be reached at kflood@gameinlane.com  and or twitter  at @kflow1776.

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