American Gaming Association (AGA) President and CEO Bill Miller on Wednesday sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting his “immediate intervention” to address the Paycheck Protection Program’s (PPP) Interim Final Rules released by the Small Business Administration (SBA) on April 2. He says those rules “rely on antiquated, discriminatory policy that renders small gaming entities ineligible to receive critical loan assistance designed to help small businesses pay their employees.”
In the letter, Miller says the gaming industry is among the sectors most severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, mainly due to mandated closure of facilities, which affected 1.8 million Americans across 43 states.
Miller notes that during the shutdowns, Trump recognized the need to assist a variety of small businesses that meet size-eligibility requirements through the enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Review, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
“In addition to phone calls from dozens of bipartisan members of Congress to SBA over the past several days, the enclosed letters underscore the clear intent behind the legislation to help more, not fewer businesses during their time of need,” Miller says in the letter. “The regional diversity of these Members also underscores the impact SBA’s unjustified decision will have on gaming workers and businesses in numerous states across the country.”
Furthermore, AGA CEO argues that individuals who are laid off will otherwise be pushed into unemployment assistance and Medicaid, and he remarks that the dislocation costs associated with widespread unemployment are severe. “Maintaining employees on payroll avoids rehiring complications, saves on future training costs, and increases productivity, which is essential to a faster economic recovery.”
Miller says that in addition to gaming’s “considerable needs” to pay and provide for its own direct workforce, the gaming industry also supports 350,000 small business jobs. “Making SBA resources available to size-eligible gaming businesses is the right thing to do. As it stands, the policy discriminates against these mainstream businesses and, more importantly, the hundreds of thousands of employees who rely on gaming for their livelihood,” he says.
“Accordingly, I trust you will agree it is critical that gaming companies and their employees can benefit from SBA loan programs, as the CARES Act intended,” he concludes.