merican Gaming Association (AGA) President and CEO Bill Miller said that the revised interim regulatory guidelines that the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued Tuesday for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) represent some progress, but they “fall woefully short” to address the restrictions on small gaming companies.
The revised regulatory guidelines will allow additional small businesses that derive revenue from legal gaming to participate in the PPP. “While these changes represent some progress, they fall woefully short of fully addressing antiquated, discriminatory policies that have, to date, restricted small gaming companies from accessing critical loan support made available through the CARES Act,” Miller said in a statement Tuesday. “As a result of this half-measure, small gaming businesses that have closed to comply with government orders will continue to be denied access to this critical lifeline to support their employees.”
“The American Gaming Association is grateful for the leadership of a significant group of bipartisan, bicameral members of Congress who have advocated tirelessly for equal treatment of small commercial and tribal gaming operations in their communities. As Congress seeks to put additional resources behind the PPP, we look forward to working with them to make it clear that ‘we are all in this together’ by rejecting the SBA’s dangerous view that gaming employees don’t deserve assistance during this unprecedented crisis,” AGA’s CEO added.
He said the AGA “will continue to strongly advocate for relief that supports the displaced gaming workforce and gaming companies of all sizes through this crisis.”
On Wednesday last week, President Donald Trump was asked during his daily coronavirus press briefing about small casinos not qualifying to receive small business loans from the coronavirus relief package. “I can look at that. I can look. It’s a great state, and I will take a look at that strongly. Are you talking only the smaller casinos? Yeah, I’ll take a look at that. I don’t mind that,” Trump said when asked about it and how it impacts Nevada, as reported by The Hill. He added: “Nobody’s told me about it, but I’ll look at it. It’s a great state, they do a great job.”
Applications for the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program were rolled out earlier this month, designed to provide loans for small businesses to meet payroll and other basic expenses during the coronavirus pandemic. Last Thursday, the AGA wrote President Trump regarding the PPP. Dozens of bipartisan members of Congress also called the administration and wrote letters regarding gaming’s exclusion from the program.
According to AGA, casino gaming supports 350,000 small business jobs and delivers $52 billion annually in small business revenue, including construction, manufacturing, retail, and wholesale firms. All 989 commercial and tribal casino properties have shuttered their doors because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than half of the 1.8 million jobs gaming supports are at non-gaming businesses, such as restaurants and local shops, which are all affected by a local casino’s closure. In many states, gaming pays among the highest tax rates of any industry with $10.7 billion in gaming taxes and tribal revenue share payments that support fundamental and critical programs from infrastructure to education.