Melina Mara/The Washington Post
Sen. John McCain Playing Online Poker

Meghan McCain: Dad Is Ready to Let His Pro-Gambling Flag Fly

Rob Capriccioso
September 11, 2013


Meghan McCain, daughter of U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), says her dad used to be paranoid about gambling, but since The Washington Post posted a picture of him playing poker on his smartphone during a September 3 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on Syria, he is ready to let his pro-gaming flag fly.

“Now, he’s really empowered because he loves to gamble,” said Meghan McCain during her September 10 appearance on Access Hollywood Live, when asked about the photo. “When he used to go to Las Vegas, people would take iPhone pictures of him, and he got very weirded out…. Now [since the photo was posted], he says, I’m going to go gamble.”

Meghan McCain said she has told her father that she’d love to join him in Las Vegas now that he’s less nervous about his habit. She shared on the program that she did not think he was playing an actual money game on his phone during the Senate hearing, but that it was an application on his phone.

“I think it’s so funny,” Meghan McCain said. “I know some people didn’t; I know some people were offended by it.

“My whole family likes to gamble,” she added. “And it’s fine—it’s legal.”

Sen. McCain, former chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, came under scrutiny in the press during his run for President of the United States in 2008 for his previous support of tribal gaming and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

In recent years, tribes have looked to the senator to support tribal Internet gaming, but he has been less vocal in his pro-Indian gaming positions as of late.

With Internet legislation pending before the Senate, having McCain voice support for strong tribal Internet gaming provisions would be useful, tribal lobbyists say.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) told Indian Country Today Media Network last fall that he supports tribes having a role in Internet poker legislation.

McCain has not responded to requests for comment on his position. He did respond, humorously, via Twitter to the photo of him playing poker soon after it was posted: “Scandal! Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing – worst of all I lost!”