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August 24, 2016

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Politics:

Presidential candidates rated for stances on gaming

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L.E. Baskow

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets workers at the Aria in Las Vegas before addressing the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials on Wednesday, June 18, 2015.

The American Gaming Association gave only two presidential candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a “green light” for their stances on gaming in its voter guide released today.

Clinton received high marks for saying casinos spur economic development and praising Las Vegas gaming employees for their hard work — despite having opposed bringing casinos to Arkansas when she was the state’s first lady.

Carson was commended for saying that gaming issues should be left up to the states, his only apparent stance on gaming.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida were given a “red light” in the guide as the only candidates opposed to gaming.

The guide cited statements Bush made expressing his dislike for gaming, including remarks made in October on the PBS show “Ralston Live.”

“I don’t like gambling, just for the record,” he said on the show. “Is that politically incorrect in Nevada?”

For Rubio, the guide quoted remarks he made to The Washington Post implying that Nevada’s status as a “gambling mecca” and its unemployment rate and the status of its housing market were related.

The other candidates all received “mixed” or “yellow light” ratings.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who was rated "mixed/yellow light," said gaming regulation should be left up to the states but casinos didn’t need tax breaks from Congress.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, was got a “yellow light,” with the guide stating: “No information available” on Sanders’ views on gaming.

Businessman Donald Trump got a “mixed” review, despite having built and owned several casinos. The guide quoted him as criticizing Atlantic City to The Washington Post, saying, “Atlantic City has gone bad.”

The association also polled casino employees in December. It found 40 percent of Nevada casino employees would not vote for a candidate with negative views of gaming. (Casino workers number about 180,000 in Nevada.)

“The hundreds of thousands of gaming employees in Nevada are highly engaged in this election and will play an outsized role in choosing the next president,” Geoff Freeman, the association’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

The poll also found 93 percent of gaming employees registered to vote said they would likely vote in the general election.

The guide is part of the association’s “Gaming Votes” initiative launched last year to promote discussions about the gaming industry in the presidential race.

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