This is Who You Should Vote For
For those of you who live in the United States, it is unlikely that your primary concern when choosing which Presidential candidate to vote for will be that person’s attitude towards online gambling, however, as with all issues upon which you have a position, it is reasonable that their stances on online gambling might be a factor in your decision.
Of course, given that online gambling is hardly a hot button or otherwise widely controversial (or even reported) issue, it can be very difficult to ascertain where a particular candidate’s views on the subject may lie. In fact, a candidate’s actual position on online gambling might even differ from previous positions that they apparently took, as they seem to in the case of both of these candidates.
First of all, Donald Trump owned three different casinos in Atlantic City over the years with those being the Trump Plaza, Trump Marina (now the Golden Nugget) and the Trump Taj Mahal. Of course, after a variety of packaged bankruptcies at these properties, he ended up half owning them and then he eventually got rid of all of his interest in the Atlantic City casino properties.
One could understandably assume that Trump would be a fan of Internet gambling, in what few previous comments that he has made about it, he essentially described it as something that the United States really should catch up on given that we were losing money to foreign countries.
However, Donald Trump has been endorsed by Sands casinos magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is perhaps equally famous for being staunchly against Internet gambling, so staunchly, in fact, that it is almost impossible to believe that he would endorse Trump, or contribute in any other way to his campaign, unless Trump had told him that he would take action averse to online gambling at any reasonably opportunity.
On the other hand, you have Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. Clinton voted in favor of the SAFE Port Act which had the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) tacked onto it on the backend. The public perception as a result of the UIGEA was that same made Internet gambling illegal, and, in fact, prior to the passage of the SAFE Port Act, there were still a number of people that believed that Internet gambling was illegal.
Given the sneaky (but not untypical) way that the UIGEA, that most legislators were not even able to read, was tacked onto the bill, it could be argued that Clinton did not know what she was voting for. Furthermore, unrelated legislation gets tacked on to what I will call the, ‘Main legislation,’ so often that politicians who support the main legislation often have to agree to the add on just to get the law passed.
Once again, I use the word, ‘Perception,’ that Internet gambling is illegal. The reason that I use that word is because it’s actually not, and I did a comprehensive study for our sister site, WizardofOdds.com, by which I determined the legality of online gambling in each of the fifty states.
Furthermore, even while there are some state laws that would tend to lend one to the conclusion that online gambling is illegal, I can find no occasion where a mere player was prosecuted for the act of online gambling. In fact, in perhaps over half of those states in which it is illegal, that is simply because it is illegal for the operators to conduct online gambling business in the state, but the laws often say nothing about it being illegal for the players.
When it comes to the UIGEA, what it actually made illegal was for gambling companies to accept funds from players who were gambling in a manner that is against the law. However, the UIGEA has nothing to do with players, even if those players are trying to fund a balance on an Internet gambling site. Furthermore, the UIGEA held no penalties for any third-party payment processors who facilitated the transaction between the player and the casino, so the result was that Internet gambling remained largely unchanged for citizens of the U.S. (other than the fact several companies stopped taking U.S. players) there was just a middleman involved in the financial side of things now.
As we have in the State of New Jersey, and a few others, there is a highly regulated Internet gambling industry that is licensed, regulated and approved by the state. Those are the kind of regulations that Hillary Clinton has stated, multiple times, that she would like to see explored with respect to online gambling for the purposes of consumer protection. From that, it could be concluded that Hillary Clinton would be in favor of online gambling with a proper regulatory framework.
The bottom line, however, is that other than the potential power to veto or sign a legislative bill having to do with online gambling; (which, in my opinion, the Federal Government has no business enacting anyway as it should be a State right) it is unlikely that the President has any real authority to do anything with respect to online gambling. The Tenth Amendment grants authority to the states to conduct their own affairs and enact their own laws as relates anything that the Constitution does not specifically grant power to the Federal Government to control.
Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, Internet gambling is simply not a front and center issue either at the Federal or State Government levels. In fact, very few states (other than those to legalize and regulate it) have really enacted any laws that either legalize or prohibit online gambling. The question then becomes whether or not the verbiage in existing statutes, which were generally written before the existence of the Internet, would tend to outlaw gambling as a whole. For example, if a statute says, ‘All gambling is illegal,’ then that doesn’t leave much room for error. As a practical matter, however, I am still not aware of anyone ever being prosecuted for the mere act of gambling online.
Again, I must conclude that the President is quite unlikely to have anything directly to do with the state of Internet gambling in the United States. However, in the unlikely event that a piece of legislation with respect to online gambling hits the president’s desk for a signature or a veto, I conclude that Clinton is the most likely to sign and Trump the most likely to veto.