December 24, 2016
By Thomas Moore
To gaming lobbyists, Donald Trump’s election is proof of at least one thing: The days of people looking askew at the casino industry are over.
“A former casino owner was elected as president of the United States” Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), said this week. “The act of owning casinos was never an issue. The active casino business was never called into question.”
Freeman was speaking during a conference call to reporters about a memo he had sent to the Trump transition team on behalf of the AGA. In the memo, he outlined a number of areas in which the gaming industry hopes to get the cooperation of the new administration.
During the call, Freeman mentioned illegal gambling, infrastructure spending, tourism regulations and sports betting as issues on which the AGA hopes to work closely with Trump.
Repealing the national ban on sports betting has been a goal of the AGA for some time. During a casino industry conference earlier this year, the AGA sponsored panel sessions on the issue and promoted research it has done on the topic.
Freeman said Trump’s election, along with growing acceptance of Las Vegas on the part of professional sports leagues such as the NFL and the NHL, was a positive sign that the country may be ready to revisit sports betting.
“The president-elect was quoted as recently as a year ago on the Colin Cowherd show talking about the failed sports law,” Freeman said. “Everything’s coming together to support a regulated environment for sports betting.”
In addition, Freeman brought up the topic of Yucca Mountain, a site in Nevada that had been chosen to house the nation’s high-level nuclear waste. The project had long been delayed by retiring Sen. Harry Reid with help from the Obama administration.
But the recent election stirred rumors that the project may be resurrected, something the AGA opposes.
“It simply makes no sense to store the country’s dangerous nuclear waste a mere 90 miles from the world’s premier tourist and business travel destination. One accident could devastate not just the gaming industry and Las Vegas, but the entire state of Nevada.”