2012 US Elections: Online Gambling on the Ballot

Top betting organizations are making President Barack Obama the odds-on favorite to win re-election over Governor Mitt Romney. William Hill, the world’s biggest bookmaker, put the odds at Obama 3/10, and Romney 5/2. For Betfair, the world’s largest Internet betting exchange, it’s Obama 1 /4 and Romney 11/4. But gamblers (both land-based and online), while concerned about the future of the country, are also focused on the future of gambling in the next administration.

Both candidates, mindful that gambling is a revenue driver as well as entertainment provider, have not displayed overt opposition to online gambling. Romney is, of course, big business-friendly; while Obama is desperate for any measurs to stimulate the economy.

Gambling issues on state ballots

This election year, citizens of five states are preparing to vote on several gambling measures. In Arkansas, Ohio, Oregon, and Rhode Island, residents are to vote on amendments aimed, basically, at either allowing casino games where there was none or expanding existing casinos and the scope of their business operations. In Maryland, voters are being asked if video lottery outlets can also run table games. Bills on online poker may also be in the offing.

Maryland gambling companies spend $72M on ballot fight

In Maryland, proponents on both sides of Question 7 – which would allow the construction of an additional casino in Prince George’s County and increase the types of games being played at existing casinos – are putting their money where their mouth is. To date, casino companies for and against Question 7 have put in$72 million into the fight, demonstrating the seriousness of this ballot initiative.

Online gambling: What do regular folks think?

Despite the gridlock, Washington has not been amiss in proposing online gambling regulatory bills. Expect lobbyists from big gaming companies to also get into the act. But what do regular Americans think? Surveys show that a majority favor legal and regulated online gambling. But while they like regulation, they also appreciate the rewards that revenue-generating businesses can bring to an uncertain economy.

It only makes sense.