As many casinos nationwide have grinded to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic, both commercial (non-Tribal) and Tribal casinos are looking to the Congress to back their enterprises and support their employees during their temporary closures.
Organizations like the American Gaming Association (AGA) have joined the airline industry and cruise companies in urging Congress to provide emergency financial aid to help them endure a financial hit.
Bill Miller, the AGA’s CEO, released a statement on Monday stating: “In a matter of days, the U.S. casino industry went from a growing, thriving segment of the U.S. economy to a near standstill.”
Miller argues the $260 billion gaming industry needs a cash bailout or additional funds to keep casinos afloat and to pay casino employees their wages during this time.
“Our immediate priorities are actions that provide liquidity to allow us to support employees,” the AGA told the Washington Post.
Dozens of Tribal casinos have temporarily closed their doors, some of them in states where large gatherings have been prohibited to minimize person-to-person contact. Their decisions reflect a commitment to protect public health and to play a role in ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. During suspended operations, Tribal casinos across the country have committed to paying employees.
Friday’s sweeping legislation to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, approved by the House, did not include industry bailouts. The bipartisan bill primarily expanded access to free testing, provided $1 billion in food aid and extended sick leave benefits to vulnerable Americans.
A third congressional package, closely considered by Congressional leaders and White House officials Monday, is anticipated to provide assistance to specific industries and include further actions to secure the economy and small businesses.