How the Mid-term Elections Impacted Gambling Expansion

Casino Watch Focus has reported countlessly on the impact of expanded gambling in areas across the country. Gambling issues are raised on many fronts, everything from direct legislation prosed by state or federal lawmakers, to individual ballot initiatives that require a direct vote of the people. Gambling is typically a bi-partisan issue with both sides demonstrating support and opposition. However, elections often swing power one way or another for a jurisdiction and it can often have an affect on gambling expansion legislation. Sometimes its seen by one party pushing legislation through their respective lawmaking arenas, other times it’s the influence of the party to shape the language and process of direct voter ballot issues and other times it’s the difference in whether gambling initiatives are passed by the legislature that then require a vote of the people. This election cycle was no different and The Washington Post Blog outlines the winners and losers of this year’s mid term elections where voters directly decided various gambling issues: 

Voters in eight states went to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to expand casino gambling. In several cases, established gaming interests poured millions into state ballot referendum fights. 

*California* Voters rejected Proposition 48, which would have allowed the impoverished North Folk Rancheria of Mono Indians to build a new casino on land the tribe has bought…

Voters in Colorado roundly rejected[4] a state ballot measure to add casinos to racetracks in three counties. The measure failed by a 3-to-1 margin, the Denver Business Journal reported.

Voters in Kansas voted to let allow non-profit charitable raffles.

Voters in Massachusetts chose to keep legalized casino gambling and the three casinos that are already on the drawing board.

Voters in Rhode Island failed to approve table games at the Newport Grand casino.

South Carolina voters gave a thumbs up to non-profit charitable raffles.

Voters [in South Dakota] backed amendment Q, which would authorize the legislature to allow roulette, keno and craps at gambling houses in Deadwood…

Voters [In Tennessee] agreed charities to hold annual lotteries. The charities in question are namely veterans groups that wanted to hold gaming fundraisers…

This election cycle also had an impact on one of the most hotly contested gambling expansion issues, online gambling. An online, gambling-reporting site listed the areas where the issue was impacted:

Tom Corbett’s defeat in Pennsylvania’s governor race can be characterized as a loss for those who would like to see regulated online poker and casino games come to [Pennsylvania]…

The defeat of Pat Quinn [Illinois] is likely a win for online gambling proponents. Like Massachusetts, Illinois politicians have clearly placed online gambling in line behind land-based expansion.

Rick Scott’s re-election in Florida represents a clear setback for online gambling supporters. Scott has been a recipient of Sheldon Adelson’s largess (directly and indirectly) and publicly called on Congress to support an online gambling ban earlier this year. His re-election calls into question what momentum online gambling regulation may realistically have in Florida, a state frequently mentioned as one of the next wave of potential markets for regulated online poker.

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