Where The 2016 Presidential Field Stands on Gambling: Hillary Clinton

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During the past 6 years, the Obama Administration has made two major policy shifts with regard to the gaming industry:

  1. The legendary 2011 Department of Justice Wire Act opinion, which paved the way for intrastate Internet gaming; and
  2. The lesser known easing of restrictions by the Department of Interior on tribal recognition and land-in-trust applications for off-reservation tribal gaming.

But that was then and this is now.

The 2014 election is just weeks away. But turn on the news and you would think the 2016 presidential race is tomorrow.

While the prospective Republican and Democratic candidates position themselves to appeal to their respective bases for the eventual primary contests, the majority of issues won’t get much coverage – including several issues important to our industry.

The next president will likely face gambling-related questions such as:

  • What is the role of the federal government in the expanding world of Internet gaming?
  • How will expanded regional commercial gaming and Internet gaming impact tribal gaming and how should their administration respond?
  • Should the DOJ 2011 Wire Act opinion stand?

So in that vein, this multi-part series will discuss where the “top contenders” stand on gaming-related issues.

Apropos of our gambling focus, we’ll break down one candidate every week, taking our order from Paddy Power’s 2016 Presidential Election odds maker.

Leading the field at 5/4 is…

Hillary Clinton’s history with gaming

Land-based gaming

“[I]f Niagara believe[s] that a casino would help attract more tourists back to what really was the tourism capital of America for so many decades, I – I would support that.” – Clinton in September 2000.

In 2000, Clinton supported a plan to bring a tribal casino to Monticello Raceway in the Catskills. That same year, Clinton also offered support for plans to build a casino in the Niagara region.

She has not always been a supporter of gaming expansion, however.

Years earlier in 1984, as first lady of Arkansas, Clinton went on a statewide speaking tour to oppose a ballot initiative to bring casino gaming to Arkansas.

Online gaming

With respect to Internet gaming, in 2006, Clinton voted in favor of SAFE Port Act/UIGEA which prohibits the processing and accepting of payments in connection with Internet gaming and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.

However, in 2008, Clinton indicated her support for a study to determine whether Internet gaming could be regulated properly to promote U.S. businesses in the industry while ensuring that proper safeguards are in place to protect minors and address other gambling issues.

Predictions for gambling policy under a Clinton administration

  • A second Clinton administration would take a favorable view on federal legislation expanding Internet gaming that contained strong safeguards against problem gambling issues.
  • What form that federal legislation would take – whether it would allow states to offer Internet gaming or create a federal licensing or oversight role – is the question.
  • A federal ban – such as the Restoration of America’s Wire Act currently before Congress – would likely not have support from a Clinton administration.

Image credit: stocklight / Shutterstock.com.

- Eric D. Frank, associate of the law firm Duane Morris LLP, concentrates his practice in the areas of gaming and regulatory matters for both land-based and Internet gaming clients. Duane Morris has both a national and international presence in the gaming industry. Frank's gaming practice expands beyond commercial casino gaming and includes representative matters in Indian gaming and the lottery and horse racing industries. Frank is a regular author on Duane Morris’ unique Gaming Law Blog.
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