It’s a fascinating question that was examined in some depth in a recent, and fascinating, editorial titled, Las Vegas Sands in Danger as Trump Threatens War Over Chinese Islands, by Rafi Farber that appeared recently on CalvinAyre.com.
The basis for Farber’s article is Trump’s increasingly belligerent tone when speaking of disputed islands in the South China Sea. China, not surprisingly, has said that it will protect its “irrefutable” sovereignty of the disputed territories. It doesn’t take a degree in international relations to see where this conflict could go.
Farber quite correctly points out that one of the first corporate victims of a trade or traditional war between the US and China would US-owned casinos on Macau like the Las Vegas Sands.
The Sands, as you might recall, is owned by Sheldon Adelson who also one of the GOP’s top donors. Adelson donated around $ 25 million to Trump-related super PACs during the last election cycle, according to the Guardian.
A question worth asking at this point is, how much influence does that $ 25 million buy Adelson in the Trump White House? Is it enough to get him to stop antagonizing the Chinese? Trump is often tough to predict, but Adelson does wield a great deal of influence in GOP circles.
It also seems reasonable to suggest that if Adelson’s interests in Macau are suffering due to a trade war, he will probably focus more efforts on his pet project, preventing the spread of internet gambling in the United States. This goal could easily be accomplished by getting Congress, which is controlled by the GOP, to take an active interest in Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA).
Should RAWA pass into law, the embryonic US online gambling industry would be shut down indefinitely.
Farber also points out that a trade war with China would have a significant impact on the US economy, including a spike in inflation due to a lack of cheap imported goods that come from (you guessed it) China.
With fewer dollars in their pockets for household goods, US consumers aren’t likely to be spending nearly as much at entertainment complexes like casinos.
In short, a trade war between the US and China would have a palpable, and likely devastating, impact on the worldwide gambling industry. The implications of a ground or naval war between the two superpowers are almost too awful to contemplate.
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