America will find out this week whether Donald Trump stays in office for another four years, or whether a new President will take over. Trump is up against Joe Biden, former Vice President of the United States. The latest survey shows Biden gaining a narrow lead in six swing states prior to Election Day, but there’s absolutely no room for complacency, because if we look back to 2016, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was leading the polls, only to be quashed by Trump in the final results.
We take a look at how President Trump will impact online poker legalization if he is reelected and how Joe Biden will change online poker legislation if he is elected President.
US Online Poker Under Donald Trump
Before entering politics, Trump was a casino owner. He operated several casino resorts in Atlantic City, including the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, and the Trump Taj Mahal. The initial impression was that he would resonate with US online gambling supporters, considering his background. For a time, his win offered a glimmer of hope for online poker players who had long been waiting to see the game legalized on a national level. But things went the other way around.
Just when online poker legalization picked up steam on a state-by-state basis, the Trump administration revised the 2011 Wire Act interpretation, which made legal online gambling possible for almost a decade.
The US Department of Justice in early 2019 issued a revised opinion on the Wire Act, declaring that the prohibitions now cover non-sports gambling, including online poker. The reversal has dealt a major blow to the country’s legal online gambling industry which has been running for years, with many more states contemplating on launching their respective regulated markets, in reliance on the 2011 opinion under the Obama administration.
The issuance of the revised opinion is widely believed to be influenced by Sheldon Adelson, who has been a staunch critic of legalized online gambling right from the start. The casino magnate is well-known for its link with Trump’s party, being a top Republican donor.
So assuming Trump gets a second term in office, the future of US online poker will be put at risk. His government will likely push for the Wire Act case, which seeks to prohibit all forms of online gambling. A Trump re-election will be another dark day for online poker players and fans based in the US.
US Online Poker Under Joe Biden
Let’s consider the opposite scenario and see what will happen if Joe Biden ends up as the new US President. If we look back at some of Biden’s previous statements on online gambling expansion, there’s some sort of optimism that online poker would be allowed to flourish.
When the Trump administration reversed the Wire Act opinion, Biden was among those who did not agree with the move. In fact, when he visited Las Vegas in December 2019, he said he’s against putting “unnecessary restrictions” to the gaming industry.
The most concrete evidence of Biden’s support for iGaming expansion was his recent statement about reversing the White House opinion on the Wire Act. Therefore, if Biden is ultimately elected as President, things will likely go back to status quo, which has been interrupted by the DOJ’s latest Wire Act opinion.
There’s no guarantee that nationwide legalization of online gambling would be fast-tracked under Biden’s term, but we can at least hope that he would avoid doing things that could hamper its progress. With a new Attorney General under his term, the Wire Act case could ultimately be dropped, and states would regain the final say on whether or not to legalize iGaming in their respective jurisdictions.
There are much bigger stakes at play than online poker when it comes to which candidate is the next President. However, solely from an online poker point of view, it looks like a Joe Biden victory will do more good for the industry than a Trump win.
 

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