Casino Industry Waiting Patiently for Its Trump Meeting
Posted on: December 20, 2016, 04:00h.
Last updated on: December 20, 2016, 01:06h.
The US casino industry, which is largely based in Nevada and Las Vegas, is predominantly happy save for a Jim Murren or two that President-elect Donald Trump is soon on his way to Washington, DC.
Having one of their own occupying the world’s most powerful office is seen as a positive by the majority of gambling executives, but the casino industry is still waiting for its one-on-one with the former casino owner.
Trump has held tech meetings, wined and dined potential cabinet officers, chatted with former NFL players, and even met with rapper Kanye West.
Some gambling bosses might be losing patience, but a sense of confidence remains that a President Trump will be good for gambling as a whole.
“His administration and congress will unquestionably implement policies that will directly impact our industry for years to come,” American Gaming Association (AGA) VP Whitaker Asker told The Associated Press this week. The AGA is the most influential gaming lobbyist in DC.
The AGA says it sent a letter to Trump requesting that the 45th president call for fewer regulations on casinos, encourage Congress to legalize sports betting, infiltrate illegal gambling syndicates, reform tax policies, and demand reasonable immigration policies that continue to allow international gamblers to reach casino floors in the US.
Band-Aid of Brothers
Many of gambling’s most powerful players came out in support of Trump during the 2016 presidential election. None more so than Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson who spent tens of millions of dollars aiding GOP super PACs.
Billionaire pals Carl Icahn and Phil Ruffin both spoke openly regarding their backing of the Republican hopeful, and while Steve Wynn never publicly endorsed the former Taj Mahal owner, he admitted to being an informal advisor.
Billionaire after billionaire has been appointed to prestigious positions within Trump’s incoming administration. They include Wilbur Ross, Betsy DeVos, and Todd Ricketts.
The latest is Vincent Viola, a New York businessman who will serve as secretary of the Army if confirmed. Viola owns the Florida Panthers, an NHL hockey team, and is also active in high-stakes horse racing.
The lone public casino industry critic has been Murren, the MGM boss who switched party lines in 2016 to join Hillary Clinton.
He wrote a scathing USA TODAY op-ed on Trump last summer, and didn’t ease his position this month by saying as an employer he must “promote diversity and inclusion,” and refrain from “rhetoric that’s been so hateful and damaging.”
Gambling Insiders Stay Away
Trump has managed to convince multiple chief executives to step away from their posh positions in order to serve the United States.
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who makes nearly $30 million annually, is ready to burn the midnight oil as secretary of state.
But so far, the casino industry seems to be avoiding giving into political aspirations. Though there’s been no word from Trump on whether official offers have been made to casino leaders, Icahn did admit he wasn’t interested in becoming Treasury secretary.
“There’s no way I would do that,” Icahn told CNBC in November.
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