The American Gaming Association Sends a Memo to President-Elect Donald Trump
The American Gaming Association sent a memorandum to President-Elect Donald Trump, providing him with updates on the gambling industry after Trump left it in 2009. The pdf memo looked to the future of the industry, including sections on tribal gaming, sports betting, and online gambling.
The AGA’s memo also predicted trends over the coming ten years, while giving the association’s stance on most gaming laws of today. It reminded President-Elect Trump that the AGA represents an industry with 1.7 million American workers in 40 different US states. The memorandum stated that the American gambling industry generates $240 billion in cash each year, as well as $38 billion in tax revenues for the various federal, state, and local governments in the country.
Growth, Innovation, and Reinvestment
AGA President Geoff Freeman suggested to reporters that the purpose of the memo was to signal to the president-elect the gambling industry’s intention to work with the new administration, while describing its hope that their interactions will pave the way toward “growth, innovation, and reinvestment“.
Geoff Freeman said, “The AGA is eager to work with the Trump administration. In this letter, we talked about how the AGA hopes to build a policy environment that is conducive to reinvestment in innovation.”
Warns Him about Misinformed Policies
In particular, the letter asked the next president to beware of “harmful and often misinformed public policies“. That passage likely refers to ongoing efforts to enact anti-online gambling laws at the federal level of government. Donald Trump would have to sign any anti-online gambling bill into law, so he is the single most important decision maker in blocking attempts to pass the UIGEA law.
The letter alluded to Donald Trump’s many years in the casino industry. At one time, Trump owned 7 different casinos in 3 different states, including New Jersey, Indiana, and California. Even today, Donald Trump owns a non-gaming hotel property on the Las Vegas Strip.
Ties to Sheldon Adelson
With a former casino owner in the White House, many in the gambling industry hope for a pro-gaming stance in Washington DC. Others are concerned about Donald Trump’s seeming friendship with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who wants a 50-state ban on online gambling. Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are on the 20-member inauguration celebration committee — a sign of Donald Trump’s friendship and favor.
The letter noted that state and federal bans on online gambling drive a $150 billion a year black market in iGaming. The AGA maintains, if the online gambling industry was fully regulated, it would produce billions of dollars in tax revenues for US states. The AGA suggested in the letter that a ban does not curtail online gambling, but only drives it underground.
Federal Sports Betting Laws
Regardless of his stance on online casinos and poker, the AGA is hopeful Donald Trump pushes a federal sports betting law. As a former Atlantic City casino owner, Donald Trump knows full-well the importance of sports betting to the future of Atlantic City casinos. When New Jersey lawmakers let a one-year grace period end in 1993 without passing a sports betting law, Trump said the state legislature was short-sighted and predicted it would cause trouble for Atlantic City casinos.
In the AGA memo, Geoff Freeman stated, “President-elect Trump has expressed his views on sports betting and appears to agree that current law has failed. We are optimistic that states will soon have the opportunity to choose if they wish to regulate sports betting in the same way they have chosen to regulate other gaming products.”
That is why Geoff Freeman discussed sports betting in an early section of the memo. Freeman mentioned that Mississippi had joined 4 other US states in calling for the United States Congress to repeal the 1992 PASPA law and allow sportsbooks across the United States to offer legal sports bets.
Lower Taxes on Casinos
The AGA’s letter also asked Donald Trump to promote lower taxes for American casinos. Donald Trump has said he would lower taxes, with most of those tax breaks coming for the investor class and corporations. Trump has promised to lower the corporate tax rate to 15%, which would be a windfall for most businesses in the United States.
Casinos’ tax rates are set by the states they are in, even when it comes to the tribal casinos. The tribal compact law set by the United States Supreme Court in a 1986 decision views tribal reservations as sovereign territory which can house legal casinos in states which ban casino gambling, though the tribe and the state must reach a compact which includes regulation and taxation.