Prior to the 2014 Midterm elections the Poker Players Alliance identified 22 anti-online-gambling lawmakers that the group termed “The Jokers,” terminology that makes me cringe every time I hear it, let alone have to type it out.
So how did these 22 anti-online-gambling candidates up for reelection fare on Tuesday night?
Not good if you’re an advocate for expanded online gambling, as they almost ran the table.
Batted 1.000 in Congress
All 17 of the House of Representatives and Senate candidates won handily – not a single race was decided by less than a double-digit spread.
- Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R), House 3rd District, UT
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), SC
- Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D), House 5th District, MO
- Rep. Charles Dent (R), House 15th District, PA
- Rep. Randy Forbes (R), House 4th District, VA
- Rep. Trent Franks (R), House 8th District, AZ
- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D), House 2nd District, HI
- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R), House 1st District, TX
- Rep. Trey Gowdy (R), House 4th District, SC
- Rep. George Holding (R), House 13th District, NC
- Rep. Jim Jordan (R), House 4th District, OH
- Rep. Steve King (R), House 5th District, IA
- Rep. James Lankford (R), House 5th District, OK
- Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D), House 3rd District, IL
- Rep. Cedric Richmond (D), House 2nd District, IA
- Rep. Mike Rogers (R), House 8th District, MI
- Rep. Lamar Smith (R), House 21st District, TX
At the state level
At the state level, the anti-online gambling candidates had less success, but not much less. Only Democratic nominee for Massachusetts Governor Martha Coakley lost, while Republican Gubernatorial candidate in Florida Rick Scott eked out a 1-point victory over challenger Charlie Crist.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley easily won a second-term. Pennsylvania State Representative Mario Scavello handily won his race as well. And Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott easily bested Democratic darling Wendy Davis to take over for Rick Perry as the Governor of Texas – Abbot was the only non-incumbent on the PPA’s list.
What does it all mean?
The PPA’s campaign was unlikely to impact any of the elections save for the Massachusetts and Florida governorships where literally every vote counted.
Each of the congressional races were in “safe” districts, as was Governor Haley’s and State Rep. Scavello’s.
In Massachusetts the difference between Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker as Governor is at best minimal. While Coakley has been more outspoken in her opposition to Internet gambling, Baker is far from an online gambling champion, as he even hedged his bets on the land-based casino repeal initiative that appeared on the ballot – and thankfully was shot down by 20 points.
Massachusetts also elected a Treasurer, Deb Goldberg, who has made several statements against online gambling, and who was in favor of repealing the above mentioned 2011 casino law, which was voted down by a 60/40 margin. If you like your politics complex and contradictory, Massachusetts is the place for you.
The Florida results have unknown consequences at this point as Charlie Crist never verbalized his opinions on online gambling. Rick Scott is in full agreement with Sheldon Adelson when it comes to online gambling, as he penned a letter supporting the proposed federal ban back in May.
As bad as a Rick Scott governorship is for iGaming, a Crist governorship would have only moved the state into the possible category.