MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren Endorses Hillary Clinton, Lifelong Republican Disses Trump

Posted on: August 16, 2016, 08:29h. 

Last updated on: August 16, 2016, 10:12h.

MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren believes Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate to become the 45th president of the United States.

A self-avowed lifelong Republican and member of the MGM family since 1998, Murren said in a USA TODAY op-ed published on Monday that he’s making his first-ever public endorsement, citing his belief that Clinton and Donald Trump are advocating for two very different Americas.

MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren Hillary Clinton Op Ed
MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren is voting for Hillary Clinton this November, a surprising public endorsement for the gaming exec who has long been on the right side of political aisle. (Image: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Murren’s reasoning for backing Clinton is largely grounded in her economic policies. He also claims that Trump’s stance on immigration and a potential travel ban on certain ethnicities and religious groups would impede tourism in America.

“I believe that few presidential candidates are as prepared for the job as Clinton,” Murren wrote. “I speak from . . . personal experience . . . Each time I have met with her to discuss complicated matters such as trade and energy policy, I have been incredibly impressed by her knowledge, command of the facts and solution-oriented approach.”

MGM is the largest gambling operator on the Strip, with 10 casinos and a total of 14 resorts in Las Vegas.

“I’ve crossed the aisle only a few times in elections past, and almost never at the presidential level. But this year it’s an easy choice,” Murren declared in his op-ed.

Casino Power Player Politics

Murren is certainly not the first CEO to publicly support the former first lady and secretary of state. Clinton has received over 100 endorsements from well-known business leaders, including such luminaries as Warren Buffett, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Mark Cuban.

But when it comes to the gambling industry and Las Vegas, the high rollers aren’t buying into the Democratic nominee’s efforts.

MGM might be the biggest gaming operator in Sin City, but Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Sheldon Adelson is the richest. Worth some $30 billion, the LVS chairman is one of Trump’s most ardent and generous supporters, and has pledged $100 million to Super PACs supporting The Donald’s campaign.

In a Washington Post column in May, Adelson wrote, “I am endorsing Trump’s bid for president and strongly encourage my fellow Republicans, especially our Republican elected officials, party loyalists and operatives, and those who provide important financial backing, to do the same.”

Billionaire Phil Ruffin is also Team Donald. The former New Frontier and current Treasure Island owner said at the Republican National Convention in July that “I have known Donald Trump as a friend and a business partner for over 20 years. You can’t be my friend and my business partner for long if you’re not honest with me and good to your word.”

And another billionaire casino owner, Carl Icahn, is on the Trump train as well, as is Dana White, the Ultimate Fighting Championship president.

Steve Wynn reportedly served as an unofficial Trump advisor while the Republican candidate was still in the runoffs for the GOP nominee position. The Wynn Resorts boss has been fairly quiet of late on his current views, however.

MGM Gaming Influence Notable

MGM is bullish on the US gaming market. The company is currently building new billion-dollar resorts in Massachusetts and Washington, DC, and recently acquired Boyd Gaming’s 50 percent stake in Atlantic City’s Borgata, giving the company 100 percent ownership of the flourishing casino.

Trump’s campaign theme is to “Make America Great Again.” He’s repeatedly stated his business expertise would help reach that goal. And his past personal connection to the gaming industry would seem to make him a more amenable choice for someone in the industry.

That’s why it’s certainly noteworthy that Murren, one of the most influential and powerful casino executives in the world, believes a Clinton presidency would be better for the American economy. But with Sheldon Adelson’s power and bankroll behind Trump, the opera still ain’t over from a casino industry standpoint.