How the US Election Could Impact the US Gambling Industry

The recent 2020 US election campaign pitted incumbent President Donald Trump of the Republican Party against Joe Biden of the Democratic Party.

The policies of the two contenders left US voters with a clear choice, with opposing views on almost every key issue, from energy to the economy, healthcare to guns, and everything in between.

The campaign styles of the two were as diverse as their politics, with Trump favoring in-person rallies, while Biden preferred small events and virtual messages.

The close-run competition stands testament to a divided country, but in the end, Joe Biden has achieved enough electoral college votes to guarantee victory.

Gambling Laws

One issue that has perhaps not been at the forefront of many voters’ minds, but has nevertheless been an area of upheaval across the United States over the past few years, is gambling legislation.

Only two years ago, sportsbook gambling was deemed permissible by law after a long period of prohibition. Online gambling regulations have also changed significantly in recent years.

A recent Gallup poll found that almost two-thirds of Americans gamble. So many voters may have been interested in the views of the two main horses in the presidential race in terms of gambling laws.

Due to his history as a casino operator, it may seem safe to believe that Donald Trump would be the most likely candidate to relax gambling laws and make the pastime more permissive. However, this is not necessarily the case. Joe Biden has stated publicly that he sees no need to impose unnecessary restrictions on gambling.

After all, the move by the Department of Justice to reverse course on the Wire Act, which could place all US-based online gambling in jeopardy, happened under Trump’s leadership.

Online Gambling in the US

The Wire Act, which initially came into place in 1961, prevents betting across state lines. Initially imposed on sports betting, administrations have included online gambling in the legislation in more recent years.

As sports betting regulations have relaxed, so have those surrounding online gambling. While previously US citizens wanting to gamble online could only do so via offshore websites, three states have now introduced permissive online gambling legislation, and more look set to follow.

People in most states in the US can access online gambling sites, although many are restricted to those operating offshore – it is still illegal in most US states for US citizens to operate gambling websites.

However, there are multiple operators that have introduced US-specific sites in recent years to appeal to the widening market.

UK Gambling Laws

While the laws for gambling in the US are complex and vary widely from state to state, the UK is renowned for having some of the most permissive gambling legislation in the world.

The regulations are tough but fair, these include restrictions on minimum or maximum bets or other factors designed to help people manage their money. However, almost anyone over the age of 18 in the UK can legally place a bet.

For some of the most popular forms of gambling, such as lotteries, scratch cards and football pools, players can join in from the age of 16. Plus, any event where the house does not have an edge, such as a raffle or amusement arcade, can be entered by children of all ages as well as adults.

Online gambling is hugely popular in the UK too, with statistics showing that there were 36.6 million remote gambling accounts held in the UK as of 2018. Naturally, there is a huge amount of competition amongst operators, all trying to attract and retain as many customers as possible. Of course, the biggest names in the industry usually have the best games and offers, 888casino is a household name in the UK, they were the winner of the 2020 Gaming Intelligence awards in the Casino Operator of the Year category, which was recognition for being a top quality online casino.


Presidential Views

Gambling legislation has not been a key issue in the run-up to the election, so knowing exactly where each candidate stands is not as easy as it might seem.

Donald Trump’s history as a casino owner makes him seem like the more likely of the two to relax laws around areas such as online gambling, However, the single biggest opponent of relaxation of online gambling laws in the United States is Sheldon Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands. Adelson also happens to be one of the biggest donors to Trump.

As an influential party supporter, Adelson may or may not have had anything to do with the new interpretation of the Wire Act. However, he is highly likely to continue to oppose online gambling and use his influence to ensure regulations are not relaxed – and this influence lies with Trump and the Republicans.

Joe Biden, who will come into power in January, has not been outspoken in his views on gambling, other than to comment that he would roll back the changes to the Wire Act. This means the Department of Justice would most likely stop federal meddling and leave individual states to set their own laws regarding gambling once more.

Preventing federal intervention would not guarantee legislation would be relaxed everywhere, but it would mean that states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware would be permitted to continue in their steps to allow gambling in all forms.

Other states, such as Utah and Hawaii, will likely retain their stance as non-gambling communities, but each state will have the chance to establish its own regulations without federal interference.

Had Trump succeeded, the outcome for the US online gambling industry could have looked very different indeed.

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