Politics vs. gamblingJuly 10, 2008, 8:56 am (12 years ago)
American publications from the respected Time Magazine to political blogs have been investigating the pros and cons of the diverse gambling styles of presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama lately, contrasting the more "cerebral and skill-based" gaming around poker tables associated with Obama with the bigger spending and fortune oriented action allegedly favored by McCain.
Obama's somewhat more self-effacing admissions of satisfying with a good game of low stakes poker attracted rather less consideration than anecdotes portraying McCain as an enthusiastic craps player ready to spend long hours at the table, not so much to make money as to party in the pleasure of winning, depending on the unpredictable nature of luck.
One blog is even examining if the Republican candidate has filed appropriate tax forms after accusations that McCain spent "a few thousand dollars at a time" on crap tables in Vegas and New Orleans. One Republican said: "He clearly knows that this is on the borderline of what is acceptable for him to be doing. And he just sort of revels in it."
In 2005, an article on McCain in The New Yorker quoted, Wes Gullett as claiming that they used to play craps in Las Vegas in 14 hour stints, regularly on fifteen dollar minimum tables, at the same time as Time outlines a gambling career over the past decade that has seen McCain play "on Mississippi riverboats, Indian land, in Caribbean craps pits and along the length of the Las Vegas Strip."
"Enjoying craps opens up a window on a central thread constant in John's life, taking a chance, playing against the odds." John Weaver, McCain's former chief strategist, who followed him to many a casino told Time.
Aides told the magazine that McCain has a tendency to play for a few thousand dollars each time and stay away from taking markers, or loans, from the casinos, which he has helped regulate in Congress. "He never, ever plays on the house," Mark Salter, a McCain adviser, said. Time states that McCain's aides are now forcing him to stay away from gambling.
Taking the politics of gambling to absurd lengths this week was the state of Minnesota; it seems that reviewing a backing appeal to raise campaign finances for Obama, which has been seen in some quarters as a possible infringement of state gambling laws.
The Obama campaign's national website calls for contributions of $5 maxed at $2 300 from supporters, with the inducement that ten supporters could triumph a chance to meet with the Democrat presidential candidate in Denver.
However, the head of the Minnesota Gambling Control Board, Tom Barrett, has asked the state Department of Public Safety to examine if the offer makes up a prohibited raffle. Raffles, which take payment replacing for prizes awarded by chance, are legal in Minnesota only by non-profit charities.
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