Donald Trump may finally have got his bride as the paparazzi have 888 teaming up with him for a tilt at a possible U.S. online poker market. British daily The Times reports that Der Donald, through his 10 percent stake in Trump Entertainment Resorts, has been talking to 888 along with other “international operators” to start up an online poker site once regulation goes through.
We asked Andrew Benbow, 888 PR spokesperson, whether the company had been in talks and he told CalvinAyre.com: “With a unique position in the US, able to launch a real money offering immediately as either federal or state based regulation is finalised and upon licensing by gaming authorities, we are unsurprisingly in discussions with a number of relevant partners regarding the opportunities that may become available in this exciting market.”
It’s just under half a year since Trump first started to move away from the presidential race and switch his attention to the online gambling industry. Only now does his deal with hedge-fund manager Marc Lasry look like bearing fruit. There are two schools of thought as to whether this will be a good or bad thing for the online gaming industry.
Having someone of Donald’s stature involved will mean that, if nothing else, the eye of the media will be fixed on the industry. If this in turn legitimizes the online gaming industry in the eyes of the U.S. media then it’s all good as far as we’re concerned. This may also mean the attention is taken away from Don’s ginger skunk and anything that does that gets our vote.
On the other side of the coin there are serious doubts over him becoming involved in the gaming industry once again. His involvement in Atlantic City’s casino business industry showed him to be a technological neophyte and it begs the question as to whether he can be trusted. There’s a reason they hike up the car insurance for 17-year-old “boy-racers” after all and the same caution may be needed here.
The news has sent 888 Holdings’ share price soaring to hit a 52-week high of 65 pence just before the fiscal year comes to an end on Friday. The company, now under the stewardship of Brian Mattingley, looks to have emerged from the dark shadow of Black Friday with more than many other firms. At the time we wondered whether the events combined with a failed merger with Ladbrokes had been good or bad. If they manage to maneuver themselves into a sound position in two U.S. states no one will remember the events of almost a year ago.
As for Trump… his global brand will give the industry some much-needed respite in the U.S. media. The success will depend on how big a role he insists on having. One thing’s for sure: there’ll be plenty of laughs along the way.