Trump Backs Online Gaming
A couple of seasons out from Black Friday, it seems that it’s safe to line up on the online poker wagon again.
And none other than Donald Trump, whose name has always pulled a lot of weight around Atlantic City, is trying to get a seat at the table.
Bloomberg reports that Trump and New York hedge-fund manager Marc Lasry plan to form an Internet Gaming company should online poker ever be legalized in the U.S. The company would be formed through Lasry’s Avenue Capital Group and casino operator Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc.
Aside from the fact that there’s no telling if and when the feds may legalize online play, on the surface, this could be great news for Atlantic City.
Though the Trump brand isn’t what it used to be in the city, Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. still controls two A.C. casinos, the Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza (though they’re trying to sell the Plaza).
The news came through a regulatory filing and it’s pretty complicated corporate stuff. Avenue Capital actually took control of Trump Entertainment last year. Trump Entertainment, however, would own 10 percent of the online company, but how the other 90 percent would be distributed wasn’t disclosed.
Still, a brand clearly associated with A.C. would be at the front of the operation.
“It’s just a matter of time,” Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter, told Bloomberg. “It would be a tremendous source of taxable revenue for states or the federal government and an enormous generator of jobs. ”
Should be noted that Ivanka Trump is executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, the New York-based parent company of Donald Trump’s real estate operations.
“In terms of the Internet, brand is essential toward attracting players,” Ivanka Trump said. “The Trump brand would be the most powerful one in this space.”
Of course none of this means that any aspect of the online operation would actually be located in Atlantic City, as opposed to New York, but at least the brand connection is there.
Plus, there is still a move in the state Legislature to bring intra-state online gambling to New Jersey. If that should pass, this deal could leave the new partnership ready to move through the The Taj.
It’s still a longshot, but Atlantic City’s odds of benefiting from online gambling just went up a little.
Update: Here’s a little more from The Associated Press, which quotes Trump as saying the U.S. should legalize online gaming.
“We think we have the hottest brand there is, the Trump brand, my personal brand,” Trump said. “We think it’s going to do phenomenally well.”