Mike Pence agrees with Sheldon Adelson that online poker has no place in American culture. But Donald Trump doesn’t appear to have anti-Internet poker attached to his platform.
Pence is Trump’s running mate heading into the presidential election in November. The Indiana Governor didn’t mention his stance on online gambling during his speech at the Republican National Convention last week. But he has shown support in the past for Sheldon Adelson’s long fight to get Internet poker banned nationwide.
The Poker Players Alliance, an organization that fights to legalize poker on the web in America, was encouraged by the Republicans’ refusal to bring up the topic during the convention. But the organization insists Pence may have something up his sleeve on the issue.
“[Pence] went as far as to author a letter to the Indiana Congressional delegation asking them to support the [Sheldon] Adelson bill that would shut down state-licensed poker websites and prohibit new ones,” the PPA wrote in a recent press release. “As if that was not enough, he made sure to send a copy to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), sponsor of the House version of the prohibition legislation, to provide backing for one of Chaffetz’s Congressional hearings on the subject.”
The letter in question, dated May 2014, included mention of Pence’s support for the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006. That bill turned out to be harmful to the online poker industry in the United States.
Donald Trump has never spoken out against online poker. But he was seen chatting and taking pictures with Adelson during the Republican National Convention.
Adelson, a Las Vegas casino mogul, has spent millions of dollars donating to Republican candidates. In return for his donations, the candidates he has supported have a history of pandering to his Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), a bill that has been shot down numerous times by lawmakers. Should it ever pass, online gambling would be illegal in all 50 states.
As it stands, online poker is legal in just three states (New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware). Many other states appear to be getting closer to passing legislation, including California, New York, and Pennsylvania.
No one knows if Trump would propose an online poker ban if elected. But many poker pros refuse to vote for a Republican candidate because the party has typically been anti-gambling.
Trump has hinted at giving Pence more power than most previous Vice President’s. That doesn’t mean Pence will attempt to push legislation, but it doesn’t mean he won’t.