Online Gambling Industry Reacts to Trump Victory

Donald TrumpDonald Trump´s victory in the US Presidential election has left a degree of uncertainty about the future of online gambling in the United States.

Yesterday morning, the United States of America woke to find that Donald Trump had been voted the country´s forty-fifth President. After the initial shock of the result had diminished – and a media post-mortem had determined how such a shock could have occurred – attention turned to the implications of Mr. Trump´s victory.

Naturally the majority of the media´s attention was focused on issues such as foreign policy, international trade deals and investment in domestic infrastructure. Some observers of the gambling industry also shared their views on what Mr. Trump´s victory might mean to the future of online gambling in the United States.

There are Two Ways this Could Go

One of the first industry observers to make their views public was Liam Casey – CEO of – who has ten years´ experience in the betting and gaming industry. Using a collection of historic Trump quotes, newspaper articles and comments from other industry observers, Casey concluded it was too early to tell what was going to happen, but suggested two alternatives:

  • Chris Christie´s influence will result in an expansion of online gambling.
  • Sheldon Adelson´s influence will result in a prohibition of online gambling.

Unlike election pollsters, most of the industry observers that contributed to Casey´s article were not willing to stick their necks out and predict the future of online gambling in the United States. The exception was Tom Galanis – Director of Tag Media and Co-Founder of GameOn Affiliates – who had a very pessimistic prediction for both online gambling and Daily Fantasy Sports:
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.

The Christie vs. Adelson Debate Rolls Over onto Twitter

The suggestion that the future of online gambling in the United States lay in the hands of either Trump´s likely Attorney General (Christie) or the man who made a significant financial contribution to his campaign (Adelson – whose newspaper supported Trump´s candidacy) rolled over onto social media, where Adam Krejcik – the head man at Californian company Eilers & Krejcik Gaming – tweeted:

Opinion on Krejcik´s Tweet was divided. Now into a wider audience, there were two sides to every story. Whereas Casey (above) had suggested that Christie´s influence would result in an expansion of online gambling, some observers felt his support for online gambling in New Jersey was forced upon him by the declining brick-and-mortar industry in Atlantic City.

It was also mentioned that Christie´s all-time low approval rating in New Jersey would likely reflect how much effort he put into pursuing legal sports betting for the state. Having been financially supported by Adelson in the past, Christie could sign off his tenure as State Governor with a big thank you to his benefactor, and support a move for RAWA or a similar Act of Congress.

However, even if Christie declines to support an expansion of online gambling, it is not guaranteed that Sheldon Adelson – a long-time campaigner against online gambling – will get the result he wants. Adelson and Trump do not see eye-to-eye on a number of issues, and the rumor is that Adelson´s support for Trump was only due to fears of what Hillary Clinton might do to Adelson´s Empire.

Furthermore, Trump has promised (among other things!) that there will be massive investment in the country´s infrastructure and tax cuts for industry and individuals. Somebody has to pay for that, and a likely source of income is tax revenues from online gambling – an industry forecast to be worth $4 billion a year by 2020. Trump has acknowledged that unregulated online gambling happens and, as it is on his radar, the whole industry could be regulated and taxed in order to fulfil some of his election promises.

And Then There is the Third Option – and a Fourth

The third option is that nothing happens at all. The regulation of online gambling continues [geolink href=””]on a state-by-state basis[/geolink], and individual jurisdictions get to make their own minds up about the pros and cons of gambling expansion. Certainly this will be the case for a while as Trump, his newly-elected Senators and Representatives get settled into their jobs and prioritize more important issues.

The only risk to this likely outcome is a fourth option – if Senators owing Adelson a favor succeed in getting a “RAWA-lite” Bill through Congress during the forthcoming lame duck session. [geolink href=””]Back in September[/geolink], a Bill challenging the Department of Justice´s 2011 interpretation of the Wire Act was introduced by Senator Tom Cotton and referred to the Committee for the Judiciary for consideration.

The bill aims to ensure the integrity of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act by blocking payments to and from online gambling operators – effectively stopping all regulated online gambling in the United States and driving operators offshore. If this scenario occurs, the Christie vs. Adelson debate – and the opinions of President-Elect Trump – will be irrelevant.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett