AGA Reports Small Gaming Companies are Left Out of SBA Forgivable Loan Program

The American Gaming Association (AGA) is reporting today that small gaming companies are not included in the new regulatory guidelines provides by the Small Business Administration. The AGA is calling for changes to be made so that the affected gaming companies will find relief as they are closed due to the outbreak.

New Guidelines

The rules for the SBA forgivable loan program covers $349 billion for small businesses that are affected by the pandemic. The money can be used to cover costs like rent for business facilities and payroll. The new interim final rules guidelines and requirements for the Paycheck Protection Program. This program is part of the CARES Act which cost $2.2 trillion.

According to Bill Miller, the CEO of the AGA, the guidelines do not include the 350,000 small local businesses the serve the casino industry across the US. In the nation, almost the entire commercial and tribal industry has been shut down across 43 states due to the outbreak. It is still unclear as to how long the venues will be non-operational.

Mille said that the efforts by the SBA to quickly issue guidance on the plan requires that businesses are eligible to receive an SBA loan if they meet specific qualifications based on the number of employees. If the guidelines are not amended, it will affect around one-third of the gambling industry in the United States, along with hundreds of thousands of employees that rely on the businesses for employment.

The AGA reports that over half of the 1.8 million jobs that gaming supports are non-gaming such as shops and restaurants. When a casino closes, not only does the gaming floor cease to operate. Restaurant on-site, entertainment venues and other outlets close as well. The AGA feels these businesses need to be protected too.

The AGA also pointed out that the gaming industry also pays some of the highest tax rates in any industry within the US with as much as $10.7 billion coming from operators and tribes with the money used to support programs and infrastructure as well as education and other needs.

Asking for Help

The AGA sent a letter to the SBA and the Department of Treasury and stated that the gaming businesses must be included in the PPP to ensure employees are connected to their employers and are able to stay off unemployment and return to their jobs when the pandemic is over.

The organization feels that the relief should be extended to all small businesses in America and their employees. We shall see if the federal government has any plans to make such changes and include these businesses.

As of right now, over six million people have filed for unemployment in the US and hundreds of thousands have been infected with the coronavirus. The gaming industry is just one of many that has been affected and the federal government is reportedly doing what they can to try and ease the strain. However, depending on how long the pandemic lasts, any effort just might not be enough.

The economy is in a tailspin and hopefully gaming companies and their non-gaming partners will be able to stay afloat until the world can get back to normal. We will stay tuned to developments over the coming days and report if any changes occur for these companies and the federal assistance programs.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.