So – what’s the betting & gaming industry’s initial reaction to the news that Donald Trump is the President elect?
(Like most people – I’ve been consumed by the political media over the last 36 hours – and it got me to me drafting this, early this morning, when a Trump win started to look likely. Will be interesting to look back on this in 12-24 months time).
- Social media is in meltdown over Trump presidency.
- Betting exchanges (and pollsters) and me, got it badly wrong (again, post-Brexit).
- Trump is a businessman that owns Casinos and his been vocal about support of gambling…
…but what could a Trump presidency actually look like for the legalisation of online gambling in the US?
3 sections here. 1) My opinion 2) Things that Trump has actually said 3) Some direct quotes this morning from betting & gaming industry people who have given me quotes. (ED NOTE: I will add more industry opinion, as people come directly back to me…)
First. My opinion.
- I think that there will be little to no change in current (US federal) policies – and if there is any change – that it may actually result in a tightening up of current regulation as Trump (personally) looks to shore up revenues at B&M casinos.
- The legalisation of online gambling in the US is (interestingly) one of the few issues that unite the far-right (mainly evangelical + big Trump supporters) and the (loony) left (gambling is a social evil and access needs to be curtailed).
- Trump is light on policies in general and the general belief is that he’ll leave the operational detail on divisive issues under discussion to the House & Senate. Progress there has continued to be slow, and shows little sign of current deadlock being broken.
Interestingly – it was reported back in 2011 that Trump was getting into a (minority-owned) online gambling business – and was quoted as saying ““This has to happen because many other countries are doing it and like usual the U.S. is just missing out…It seems inevitable, but with this country you never know if it’s inevitable.”
…but crucially – the Forbes piece also reported that “…Trump has no plans to move forward without a federal or state regulatory regime in place.”
Historically – Trump has been pro-gambling in general but comments have tended to either been a) targeted towards legalisation (or at least. loosening up) of gambling frameworks in states that have B&M Casinos or b) been very general comments around the links between Sports & gambling.
Two important things to remember.
a) Sheldon Adelson donated $25M to the Trump campaign. And he’s not keen on online gambling in the US anytime soon.
b) Trump has some previous around being obstructionist and protectionist around his (gambling) properties VS expansion.
Here are some of the things that he’s historically said around legalisation of sportsbetting (and gambling, in general):
- “This has to happen because many other countries are doing it and like usual the U.S. is just missing out. It seems inevitable, but with this country you never know if it’s inevitable.” – Forbes Magazine.
- “I like sports. I like gambling. The two obviously go hand in hand. And like I’ve said before “Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.” If everyone adopted that philosophy we’d all be better off. I like Adam Silver’s new stance on sports gambling. He realizes there’s a lot of money to be made for everyone including the leagues and players and as I’ve said before “if you’re going to be thinking anyways, then think big.” And sports betting can be big. We also need it in New York and New Jersey to help our horse racing tracks and casinos.”
- We do polls that show that 82% are in favour (of legalising sportsbetting) – Youtube interview
(On legalised sportbetting) – We have to do it, it’s vital to putting the bookies out of business. – Youtube interview
- “(I’m) okay with it because it’s happening anyways… whether you have it or you don’t have it, you have it… you understand that better than anybody. It’s all over the place.” Breitbart
Here are some direct quotes from experienced betting & gaming industry experts – that I’ve been in contact with this morning.
“When it comes to Trump and the gambling industry, he’s made vocal statements in support of online gaming but I don’t think he’ll push for or against. He’s got trade wars to start….The big issue will be the lame duck Congress and Senate. Will they try to sneak some RAWA type bill through before the inauguration or perhaps the new Attorney General flip flop again on the wire act. I don’t think there will be movement on the federal level but with the Republicans controlling the Congress, the Senate and the Presidency what ever happens good or bad will happen unopposed.” – Bill Beatty – Editor in Chief – CalvinAyre.com
“If anyone can predict his actions – they are a better gambler than me.” David Sargeant – Innovation Consultant and Startup Incubation at iGaming Ideas
“I suppose there’s a chance his election might be advantageous for online gaming. Especially if Christie is AG. But Adelson’s influence can’t be discounted.” – Sue Schneider – Partner at iGaming America
“…to think he will be in favour of online gambling just because he’s owned land based casinos may be a dangerous assumption. Sheldon Adelson owns casinos. He donated $25m to trump by the way. The idea that an openly economically protectionist president will create a land of opportunity for foreign egaming firms is likely a little naive…” – Alun Bowden – Senior Consultant at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming & Contributing Editor, eGaming Review
“Selfishly, the election results are a disaster for iGaming in the US. Fully expect the NJ, NV and DE industries closed within a year. + DFS?” – Tom Galanis – Director, Tag Media / Co Founder, GameOn Affiliates. (ED NOTE: update from Tom – “Sure. It probably is a tad pessimistic, but I’ll stand by the fact it’s terrible for the industry.”)
“Pretty sure he’s in Sheldon Adelson’s pocket. But I’m not really up on whether Adelson is against sports betting, or just poker and casino. But hard to see Adelson not being a kingmaker at this stage. He was the big republican bankroller, and owns the only paper in the US to endorse Trump. On the other hand, Chris Christie, who is going to have a big say in policy stuff, was the NJ Governor trying to push legal sports betting through for NJ. so interesting i think.” – Jesse May – Campaign Strategist at Matchbook.com / The Voice of Poker.
“I think online gambling will be very far down the list of what Trump will be worried about for the next 12 months. Despite being a (former?) casino owner my assumption is he wont be a fan of online gambling as he is a bricks and mortar man.” – Fintan Costello – Founder & Managing Partner at Revenue Engineers.
So – in conclusion – what will the future hold for a Trump presidency and online gambling?
- Too early to tell what’s going to happen but…
- Sheldon Adelson’s bankrolling of the Trump Super PAC points to significant influence (with Trump) from one of the biggest opponents of online gambling and…
- Trump has been protectionist around shoring up revenues for his own B&M properties – and the perception is that online gambling takes revenue from those…
- He’s light on policies in general, and the wider market opinion is that he’ll be leaning heavily on experts in the House & Senate to take the lead on more complicated issues (of which online gambling is considered one).
- However – Chris Christie’s importance to Trump policy-making may open up a shorter near-term opportunity for legalised sportsbetting in New Jersey – which may have a knock-on effect into other states.