Giuliani for US President: He Likes Gambling (Sometimes)

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Rudy Giuliani

Disenchantment with the current crop of Republican presidential candidates has many in the G.O.P. urging former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani to get in to the race, but so far he has resisted a repeat run.

Brooklyn-born Giuliani, 67, who was Big Apple mayor from 1994-2002 and before that was a Federal prosecutor and U.S. Attorney, ran for President in 2008.

And at one time during that '08 Republican primary election cycle, Giuliani led in the polls in all 50 states.

But his candidacy quickly fizzled out--many say because he had no issues other than 9/11--and he failed to win a single state primary election or caucus.

But now, in light of the fact that no one in the current G.O.P. field is catching fire among the electorate, the thrice-married Giuliani may be rethinking another White House run.

Although he hasn't formally declared, he refuses to rule out another go and has been quietly travelling around the country making speeches and garnering support.

So where would a President Giuliani stand on issues of concern to Gambling911.com readers, that is, issues related to gambling?

As part of its continuing series on how the announced and potential presidential candidates stand on gambling issues, Gambling911.com examined Giuliani's record on gambling when he was mayor and learned that he's all over the board on the subject.

In 1997, Giuliani showed support for gambling by saying he was in favor of legal casino gambling in New York City.

But at the same time, he supported efforts that it made it more difficult for casino ships--so-called 'cruise to nowhere' ships that operated in international waters three miles from the coast--to operate off the New York City coast.

The December 6, 1997, edition of the New York Times quoted Giuliani as saying: "We're going to have (land-based casino) gambling in New York City anyway. If we're going to have it, then there are a couple of things that should happen. It should be regulated so we can keep organized crime out. It should be regulated so it can be fair, so you have fair odds and people aren't cheated."

Giuliani continued: "The City should extract a substantial amount of money for it that can be invested in the City. I think the City and the State have to think competitively here. New Jersey and Connecticut are making a lot of money off New Yorkers who go there and gamble. And if the State is considering allowing gambling in other parts of the State, I don't want to see New York City left out.''

But in the same article, Giuliani spoke out against shipboard gambling, saying it was proliferating too quickly and that he wanted to set up roadblocks to curb the expansion, such as creating a New York City Gambling Control Commission to regulate the casino ships.

Giuliani said the Commission would fingerprint and check the backgrounds of everyone involved in the casino ships' operations, from the principals to the boat manufacturers to the cleaning workers, and that the City would charge the operators $130 an hour to conduct the checks, which require thousands of hours per ship and could raise millions of dollars in fees for the City from each ship and would allow only the largest and best-financed companies to enter the industry.

No land-based casinos were ever built in New York City, and the "cruises to nowhere" continue to this day.

On the subject of horse racing off-track betting in New York City, commonly known as OTB, Giuliani as mayor cut the City's losses in 2001.

OTB operated statewide in New York State and was making a profit in most of the state, but not in New York City.

Giuliani could have simply shut down the City's OTB parlors, putting thousands out of work but saving the City millions of dollars.

Instead, he chose to save NYC OTB, and sold off the City's money-losing OTB operation to a private firm, which continues to run it to this day.

In announcing the move, Giuliani on August 6, 2001, in his weekly Internet column, explained: "Last week I announced the sale of New York City's Off-Track Betting Corporation. This long-sought-after transaction fulfills a campaign promise and represents a significant step forward for increasing the efficiency of government in New York City. This is one of the largest and most profitable privatizations in New York City history. The transfer of OTB to private management will bring nearly $400 million into the City...

"The New York City OTB used to be known as the only bookie in the world that lost money (so) this is a great example of how privatizing non-essential services can bring both short-term and long-term benefits to the City of New York. The simple fact is that running a betting parlor is outside the essential responsibilities of government. We would be better off focusing our energies and capital on improving the delivery of essential services that provide a safe and clean environment in which New Yorkers can conduct business, raise a family and enjoy life in our city. OTB's service to its customers will improve dramatically under new private ownership that has extensive experience in running this type of operation. This is a win-win situation for the people of New York and horse racing fans alike."

So apparently it's okay with Giuliani if people want to bet on sporting events involving horses.

But betting on sporting events involving people?

Not so okay with Giuliani, a lifelong and diehard New York Yankees fan who was often seen in front-row seats at Yankee Stadium during his mayoralty reign.

Back in 1997, when he instituted guidelines under which the offshore casino ships could operate, he permitted them to offer casino games such as blackjack, roulette, craps and poker, but refused to allow them to offer sports betting.

The March 13, 1997, edition of the New York Daily News reported that Giuliani feared that easy and legal access to sports wagering in New York City would lead to mobsters getting players to shave points or even fix games.

"Sports gambling is not something we should have in New York City," Giuliani told the newspaper. "Sports gambling is an area that can be exploited more by organized crime than even casino gambling."

So there you have it.

Giuliani IS all over the board when it comes to gambling.

Some might say he's contradictory or even paradoxical.

He supported land-based casinos in New York, but wasn't too keen on ship-based casinos.

And he's all for betting on equine athletes, but not on human ones.

But despite his inconsistency on gambling issues, he was consistent about one thing that's gambling-related: gambling money!

Yes, despite his lukewarm support for gambling at times, Giuliani was always enthusiastic and eager to accept the fruits of gambling, in the form of political donations

Officials campaign documents from 2008 that were examined by Gambling911.com show that Giuliani, when he was running for President, accepted more than $160,000 in campaign donations from casino interests.

Among the biggest donors to the Giuliani campaign were owners and employees of the Station Casinos chain in Nevada, who collectively donated over $88,000, and Sands Casino chain owner Sheldon Adelson, who donated thousands of dollars by himself.

By Tom Somach

Gambling911.com Staff Writer


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