Andy Beal, the billionaire businessman and poker enthusiast, is part of Donald Trump’s new economic advisory team.
Beal will be best known to poker fans as the man who took on a collective of high stakes poker pros (known as The Corporation) in a series of heads-up games with the blinds reaching as high as $50,000/$100,000.
However, beyond his high stakes exploits, Beal has a proven track record as an entrepreneur. Through companies like Beal Bank and CSG Investments, Beal has built up a $7 billion fortune so it’s obvious he knows how to make money.
Whether or not this experience qualifies him to work as an economic advisor isn’t clear, but with a background similar to Trump’s we can see why Beal was chosen as an aide.
Of course, Beal’s ability to formulate economic policies will only be tested if Trump’s gets elected as president, but if he does manage to make it into office then it could be good news for the poker community.
So far during his campaign Trump has had something of a frosty relationship with longtime Republican and GOP mega-donor, Sheldon Adelson.
Unlike other candidates, Adelson hasn’t sung Trump’s praises and in return Trump hasn’t accepted any cash from the billionaire casino owner.
This strained relationship, combined with the apparent support Trump showed for online poker a few years ago, has led some to suggest that he won’t support the Adelson-backed UIGEA bill.
While nothing is guaranteed in politics, the recent appointment of a noted poker fan such as Beal could suggest that Trump isn’t wholly against the industry as some US politicians appear to be.
In fact, if Beal is able to outline the potential economic benefits of regulating online poker, then it could lead to a complete rejection of UIGEA and new legislation that would permit online poker on a national level.
Of course, thinking like this may be overstating the case, but given the economic benefits regulated online poker has provided in countries such as the UK, there’s no reason the same rules couldn’t apply in the US.
Although UIGEA took a political battering in 2015, it remains a lingering threat to online poker players in the US. So, the possibility of a poker fan becoming a senior advisor to the next president surely can’t be a bad thing for the industry.