Donald Trump and hedge fund manager Marc Lasry want a seat at the virtual poker table if online gambling is legalized in the U.S. Mr. Lasry's Avenue Capital Group and casino operator Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. will form an Internet gaming joint venture if U.S. regulators permit such businesses to operate, according to an Oct. 14 regulatory filing. Both firms are based in New York.
Trump Entertainment, which Avenue Capital took control of last year, would own 10% of the venture, the company said in its filing. It didn't disclose the stakes to be held by Mr. Trump or Mr. Lasry's $12 billion hedge fund. Mr. Lasry is chairman of Trump Entertainment, which operates the Trump Taj Mahal Resort and the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino.
The agreement coincides with a push to legalize online gambling by states including Iowa and New Jersey. The $6 billion that Americans wager each year through offshore sites is tempting state authorities who face budget deficits, as well as casino companies looking for new sources of growth.
“It would be a tremendous source of taxable revenue for states or the federal government and an enormous generator of jobs,” said Ivanka Trump, executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, the parent company of her father's real estate operations.