Donald Trump Cottons Up to Anti-Online Gambling Proponent for Possible Cabinet Choice

Posted on: November 16, 2016, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: November 16, 2016, 06:03h.

President-elect Donald Trump has yet to name anyone to his presidential cabinet, but rumors abound. Two of the most recent potential cabinet members bandied about have been Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Trump’s former adversary, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Las Vegas billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn are working on President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration committee. And at least one of the future leader’s potential cabinet picks is not a friend to online gambling. (Image: Reuters/Associated Press/

Cotton is reportedly in the mix to serve as US Defense Secretary under Trump. A co-signer of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), the anti-online gambling legislation, Cotton introduced a similar bill in September. RAWA is the favored legislation of Adelson, who maintains that his crusade to eliminate online gambling is a moral mission.

Cruz, who declared at the 11th hour that he was voting for Trump to keep Clinton out, is also being considered for a top position. According to Beltway insiders, the former presidential candidate is in the running for US Attorney General, the title which Loretta Lynch currently holds. With his evangelical bent, he’s no great fan of online gambling either.

The appointment of attorney general is perhaps one of Trump’s more important designations. The Department of Justice is in dire need of restoring its credibility following the controversial and divisive investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

Let’s Get This Party Started

Meanwhile, with only two months to go, an elite group of Las Vegas billionaires are heading up Trump’s inauguration activities. The 20-person team will be responsible for planning and organizing all official events surrounding the January 20, 2017, historic swearing-in of Trump and his Vice President-elect, Mike Pence.

Thomas Barrack Jr., a private equity real estate investor, will serve as chairman of the leadership team. The odd surname similarity to the current president’s first name is hard to miss, and one wonders if the irony was a selling point in making Barrack the committee chair.

And while numerous other names stick out on the Presidential Inaugural Committee, but none more so than Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam. The two gave millions to super PACs supporting Trump’s presidential campaign, and are thought to be the largest donors to the Republican Party for the 2016 election cycle.

The Las Vegas Sands CEO made his fortune on casinos and gambling, and today, Adelson is estimated to be worth upwards of $30 billion. But he’s not the only Las Vegas billionaires working for Team Trump.

The inauguration panel includes New Frontier and Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin, who also controls half of Trump International Hotel Las Vegas. Ruffin spoke at the Republican National Convention on Trump’s behalf, and appeared at numerous stops along the campaign trail.

Gail Icahn, wife of billionaire Carl Icahn, is also on the committee. Mr. Icahn recently shut down the last casino bearing the future president’s name, the Trump Taj Mahal.

Perhaps somewhat surprising is the inclusion of Steve Wynn. Once an informal advisor to Trump’s primary campaign, Wynn refused to publicly endorse the controversial GOP candidate or opponent Hillary Clinton. But expediency is everyone’s political bedfellow, and no doubt Wynn, a savvy businessman of many decades, sees value in cozying up to the epicenter of legislative power in the US.

Demonstrations and Antagonists Expected

The primary goal of the inauguration committee is to raise the necessary funds for the commencement events. President Barack Obama’s inaugural team raised $53 million for his January 2009 swearing-in.

Trump’s budget will likely need to be even larger. Planning a presidential inauguration is always a logistical nightmare, but Trump opponents remain highly energized and are expected to make their voices heard.

Millions of demonstrators and protestors are expected to greet Trump as his caravan makes his way through Washington, DC. A “Million Woman March” is scheduled for January 21, although permit requests have not yet been submitted, according to the National Park Service.

Arranging the parade route and assigning designated protesting areas, while also assuring the safety and security of all, will make the 2017 inauguration particularly challenging.