Casino magnate and major political donor Sheldon Adelson is now behind presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump — both with his words and his money.
And that could bad news for proponents of U.S. online poker and gambling.
The Adelson-Trump connection
Where — and if — Adelson would be spending his money on the presidential election was a variable until just a few days ago. That’s when it was reported he would be donating to the Trump campaign, possibly to the tune of more than $100 million.
Adelson also wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in support of Trump.
Trump once denigrated the support of Adelson, when money wasn’t earmarked for him. Apparently bygones are bygones, however:
Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2015
RAWA support from the highest office?
If Adelson is going to fund the Trump campaign, you can likely assume that comes with a promise from Trump to try to advance policies Adelson feels are important.
By default, that would seem to mean that Trump will become a proponent of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act — the Adelson-backed bill in Congress that would ban online gambling throughout the country.
There had been a possibility that the bill was dead once and for all after a poor showing at a House hearing late last year. But Sen. Lindsey Graham recently revealed that Adelson was far from done with iGaming, when language appeared in an appropriations bill.
If Adelson is still serious about RAWA, there would be no better chess piece to have than the president of the U.S.
While there still are questions about the viability of RAWA getting through Congress, an Adelson-backed Trump presidency would almost certainly mean we haven’t seen the last of the bill.
Previously, Trump seemed fine for iGaming
Trump has never been actively involved in online gambling, but he has obviously been a part of the casino industry. He’s been on the record supporting legal, regulated online gambling in the past.
It appeared that Marco Rubio might be the only real RAWA proponent with a legitimate chance of becoming president, at one point. But that was when it seemed unlikely that Trump would either be the Republican nominee, or be the recipient of Adelson’s money.
Trump, of course, does almost nothing by the book. He could certainly take Adelson’s money and not advance his proposed iGaming ban.
And obviously, the ramifications of a Trump presidency have impacts far more serious than online gaming.
But, in the end, a theoretical President Trump could also morph into RAWA’s biggest cheerleader.
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