Election Day 2018: Where Votes Matter for Gaming Industry

Posted on: November 6, 2018, 07:06h. 

Last updated on: November 6, 2018, 03:42h.

Election Day 2018 is here, and the outcomes of several votes have the potential to greatly impact the future of the gaming industry in the United States.

Election Day Nevada governor race
Steve Sisolak and Adam Laxalt’s campaign to become the next governor of Nevada is expected to be one of the closest gubernatorial outcomes on Election Day 2018. (Image: Jeff Scheid/Nevada Independent/Gabriella Benavidez/Review-Journal/Casino.org)

Nevada residents will elect their next governor today, with either state Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) or Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak set to replace Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) following his two-term tenure. No state has more influence on the US gaming industry than Las Vegas’ home, and the governor of the Silver State plays a critical role in the regulatory oversight of casinos.

The governor is responsible for appointing the three members of the Nevada Gaming Commission, the chief regulatory body that oversees the Gaming Control Board.

The governor also chairs the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee, which meets when the governor convenes the group when he or she deems necessary to address issues related to the gaming industry.

Laxalt’s campaign is heavily funded by Las Vegas Sands billionaire Sheldon Adelson. The latest polling shows today’s vote will be neck and neck, as the final Real Clear Politics average had Laxalt with just a 0.6-point advantage on Sisolak.

However, bettors on PredictIt who are putting money on their beliefs say Sisolak is the favorite. The Democrat’s shares are trading for 58 cents to Laxalt at 42 cents.

PredictIt is an online exchange where users buy and sell shares of political outcomes. If they are correct, they’re paid out at $1 each.

Florida Ballot Amendment

On the other side of the country, voters in Florida will decide whether they want to strip state lawmakers of their power to dictate future gaming measures.

Floridians who back Amendment 3 with a “yes” vote will give citizens, not politicians, the exclusive power to decide whether to authorize new forms of casino gambling. If the “Voter Approval of Gambling Initiative” receives the required 60 percent support to modify the state constitution, the only way new forms of gaming could be authorized or expanded would have to come through citizen-initiated ballot measures.

The Seminole Tribe and Disney are funding the ballot question. The two groups have collectively given $44 million to Voters in Charge, the committee organizing the push.

The Native American group wants to make sure its Seminole casinos retain their monopoly on house-banked table games, specifically blackjack, and also prevent slot machines from expanding to new counties. Disney wants to maintain the family-friendly marketability of Orlando, and like the tribe, believes citizens will be less reluctant to approve new gaming than politicians who might be influenced through lobbying.

Congressional Control

The most consequential outcome from Tuesday’s Election Day will be whether the Democrats can retake the House of Representatives. PredictIt bettors believe they will. The market asking, “Who will control the House after 2018?” has Democratic shares at 71 cents, and GOP shares at 33 cents.

Democrats need to pick up 23 seats in the lower chamber to assume control.

However, Congress will be divided in power if PredictIt bettors are correct. The market “Who will control the Senate after 2018?” has Republican shares strong favorites at 86 cents, and Democratic shares at 16 cents.

With the Supreme Court’s recent decision to repeal the federal sports betting ban, Congress could again intervene and set a nationwide groundwork that would supersede state law.