Billionaire Donald Trump is best known for his real estate and entertainment empire as well as for his bravado and strong personality. The real estate mogul received the Republican nomination in 2016 and was subsequently elected President of the United States.
Donald Trump was born in 1946 in Queens, New York. His father was a building and real estate developer specializing in middle-income apartment projects across Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 with a B.S. in economics Donald Trump joined his father’s company Elizabeth Trump & Son.
In 1971 Trump was granted control of his father’s company, which he began to take in a new direction. Donald Trump had more grandiose visions for the company than his father had, and before long Donald Trump had focused his building and development efforts in Manhattan. He renamed his father’s company Trump Organization.
In 1977 he married New York model Ivana Zelnickova Winklmay and in 1978 appointed her as Vice President of Design in his company. In 1991 Trump and Ivana divorced. Two years later he married actress Marla Maples, whom he would divorce by 1999. In 2005 Trump went on to marry model Melania Knauss. Between the three marriages, Trump fathered a total of 5 children.
In 1979 Trump opened his iconic Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. The luxurious apartment building filled with high-end retail stores and celebrity tenants attracted national attention. By the time Trump opened the Grand Hyatt Hotel in 1980, he had become New York City’s best-known developer.
When New Jersey approved casinos in 1977, Trump set out to acquire a gambling license and a piece of property. He partnered with Harrah’s and in 1984 opened up the $250 million complex now known as Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s Trump built his casino empire and established the company Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts.
Business was booming for Trump. As he grew his casino empire in Atlantic City, he was also still busy acquiring, building, and developing properties in New York City. Trump also expanded out of the New Jersey / New York area to projects in Los Angles and West Palm Beach.
The real estate market took a turn in 1990 and the value of Trump’s empire plummeted. Trump had to rely on loans to keep his empire from collapsing. Trump’s casino empire, under the company Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (later renamed Trump Entertainments Resorts) , declared bankruptcy four times during the ’90s and ’00s. Although Trump still owns a small stake in the company, he has resigned as chairman of the board and tried to separate himself from the failing company.
In anticipation of New Jersey legalizing online gambling, Trump Entertainments Resorts attempted to invest in the industry by opening online poker companies, none of which thrived. The only venture to make it past the planning stages was Ultimate Gaming, which survived 19 months before pulling the plug.
It was in 2004 that Trump took to television in the NBC reality series The Apprentice. The show became a quick success and led to a spin-off featuring well-know contestants, titled The Celebrity Apprentice.
As if real estate, hospitality, and entertainment weren’t enough, Trump took his name and the Trump brand on ventures in several industries, with products such as Trump Magazine, Trump Vodka, Trump Catering, Trump: The Game, and Donald J. Trump Signature Collection (a menswear line).
Trump first publically set his sights on the White House in 1999 but then withdrew his candidacy. In 2012 Trump said he was considering a return to the presidential race, but it wasn’t until June 16, 2015, that Trump officially announced his run for the GOP nomination in the 2016 election. In his announcement speech, Trump promised that he would ” be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”
Trump’s presidential campaign has been packed with controversy from the start. In his campaign announcement Trump stated:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
These statements caused NBC to cut its ties with Trump, ending Trump’s affiliation with The Apprentice and ending their broadcast of Trump’s Miss USA Pageant. Trump offered no apology and fought back by filing a $500 million lawsuit against NBC for breach of contract and defamation. The television network wasn’t the only company to cut ties with Trump following his derogatory remarks. Macy’s announced that the chain would discontinue carrying Trump’s menswear line and The Professional Golfers Association of America canceled plans for an upcoming tournament to be held at Trump National Golf Club in Los Angles.
Further controversy sparked from comments Trump made regarding Senator John McCain’s reputation as a military hero. After being gunned down in the Vietnam War McCain was detained for several years, during which time he suffered torture and broken limbs. Trump said “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
In a September 2015 debate fellow Republican candidate Jeb Bush brought up Trump’s failed attempt to bring casino gambling to Florida, “He wanted casino gambling in Florida.” Trump denied it, “I didn’t.” Bush responded, “yes you did” and Trump came back with “totally false.” Bush continued, “You wanted it and you didn’t get it because I was opposed to…” and Trump cut him off saying, “I would have gotten it…. I promise I would have gotten it.”
Back in 1998 Trump was working on a deal with the Seminole Tribe to open up casinos on their Florida land. The problem was that casinos were not legal in Florida. Jeb Bush was running for Florida governor at the time, and Trump helped to finance his campaign. In the end, Bush remained opposed to expanding gambling in his state and Trump ended the deal with the Seminole Tribe before Bush became governor.
Although Trump’s campaign has been packed with controversy, he is still leading in the Republican presidential polls. This is good news for online gaming advocates. Although Trump Entertainments Resorts’ attempts to open online gambling sites have failed, Trump is a supporter of the online gambling industry. In 2011 Trump said internet gambling “has to happen because many other countries are doing it and like usual the U.S. is just missing out.”
Since his announcement of his presidential bid, Trump has remained quiet on the topic of online gambling, and the issue hasn’t been brought up in any of the debates. Nevertheless, when the issue is brought up, we can expect Trump to make a strong case in favor of online gambling.