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What Republican presidential candidates think about online gambling

in 2017 by

Online gambling is always a contentious issue for the public and presidential candidates alike. The Republican candidates would like to be seen as pillars of the community but many of their potential voters enjoy a spin on a slot game or a bit of online poker.

Donald Trump was at one time a casino owner and has many friends in the casino industry, with some backing his campaign. One of the biggest contributors to his campaign is Sheldon Adelson, who is a self-made millionaire from the casino industry. He made his cash in the land-based casino world so any candidate receiving funding from this benefactor may be inclined to advise an end to online casinos.

Ben Carson appears to be holding back on this controversial issue, as he won’t want to alienate part of the voting public. He seems to be happy to go with the flow of what the larger government decides on this issue, without asking for trouble. This way, if push comes to shove, he won’t be leaving himself open to criticism over unfulfilled promises in this area.

Marco Rubio is rumored to be the favorite of Adelson, as he inches closer to the casino mogul. This could lead to an anti-online gambling stance from this candidate as the funding for his campaign will be more important than this one issue. This is a strategy that could pay off big time for the candidate but it may cost him votes as the public opinion turns to acceptance of online gambling. This encompasses a number of demographics as they don’t want to miss out on the fun that other countries are having online. Many have pointed out that online gambling is legal in the UK and in 2016 there will be dozens of new bingo sites without a huge risk to the public.

The candidate that’s keeping things simple on this issue is Jeb Bush, who stated that he didn’t know anything about gambling and wasn’t experienced in the industry. He does seem to have a conflicting stance on the issue as he wants America to remain an untouched environment but after stepping down as governor he no longer opposed the issue.

Rand Paul is taking a distinctly capitalist approach on the issue, as he tells government simply to butt out of this business sector. He’s not getting involved with Adelson or his attempts to change the gambling act as it stands but merely sees it as another business that could boost the economy.

Chris Christie has an interesting history with online gambling, as the State of New Jersey became one of the few to allow online gambling when Christie was in charge. This suggests that the candidate would not be looking to hit back at online gambling, but this may have changed in recent years.

One of the candidates looking to dismantle the relationship between state and business is Ted Cruz, so don’t expect him to be for restrictions. As far as he’s concerned business interests like those by Adelson should be out of the capital and not be allowed to change legislation. He won’t be touching the RAWA incentive as this seeks to change the way that legal gambling operates and is backed by big business.



Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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