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Adelson Gave $5M To Trump Inauguration, Raising Threat Of Regulated Online Poker Ban: Report

Contribution Was The Largest For Trump's Ceremony


Documents released this week show that casino mogul Sheldon Adelson donated $5 million to the inauguration festivities for Donald Trump, The New York Times reported.

Though Adelson’s contribution was less than five percent of the total amount raised for the inauguration, the money has reinvigorated fears that Adelson may finally accomplish one of his major projects: banning regulated online casino games in America.

The Times report said that Trump went as far as to thank Adelson publicly during a luncheon honoring congressional Republicans on inauguration eve.

MSNBC picked up on the Adelson donation and what it could mean for online poker.

This week wasn’t all bad news for those opposed to the anti-online poker bill called RAWA. Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who spearheaded one of the prohibition attempts and held a hearing on it in late 2015, announced that he won’t be seeking re-election in 2018.

Adelson is a mega-donor for Republicans, but many on that side of the aisle have criticized RAWA because it would trample on a state’s right to regulate gambling. At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in February just outside the nation’s capital, a poll found that 91 percent of conservatives in attendance oppose the prohibition.

What is more worrisome than RAWA passing through Congress and hitting Trump’s desk for a possible signature is a reversal of the 2011 legal opinion that made the regulated online gaming industries in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware possible.

GamblingCompliance reported this week that there have been rumors on Capitol Hill that Attorney General Jeff Sessions might actually attempt to reverse that legal opinion. Sessions said earlier this year at his confirmation hearing that he was “shocked” by regulated online gaming.

Despite the chaos on this issue, states like Pennsylvania and New York are seriously considering legalizing and regulating online gambling in 2017.