Over the past few weeks, the casino industry in the United States has come to a standstill. Operators are shutting down services for two weeks or more to be able to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The $260 billion industry is taking a huge hit and the American Gaming Association is calling for funds to be provided by the government to support the companies and their employees.
Urgent Support Needed
The American Gaming Association (AGA) stated that the closing of the casinos across the nation are part of a public health response to Covid-19 or the coronavirus. Elected leaders need to act urgently to provide support to the industry to help employees and the businesses that are feeling the effects of the closure. Immediate priorities of the AGA are to see liquidity provide to support employees.
Almost every day, a new operator announces they are shutting down services due to the spread of the virus. Casinos are home to high touch areas where the virus could easily be transmitted to hundreds if not thousands of people. The federal government is now recommending that groups of 10 or more do not meet. Casinos of course see a ton of players on the gaming floor, in their hotels and dining establishments.
Atlantic City and Las Vegas casinos have suspended services along with casinos in Maryland, Illinois and other states. Some operators decided to close days ago while others are just now starting to close their doors.
There are also some casinos, even those in Las Vegas, that have decided to continue operating despite the contact recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Precautions are being taken but is it enough to stop the spread of the disease?
Efforts have been made by the Trump Administration to help several industries including oil and gas, airlines, hospitality and cruise industries. Each of these industries have been hit hard by the coronavirus as consumers are staying home.
Late last week, a bipartisan package was approved by the House and does have Trump support. However, it does not include help for casino companies. It is expected that changes will be made to include casinos but if that will actually happen is anyone’s guess.
Lawmakers are currently working on a new package this week as the Senate reviews the bill approved by the House. If it is approved and includes funding for the casinos, it will certainly help the industry recover. However, if not, we may see the casino industry suffer long-term and some venues close as they were unable to continue to support themselves as well as employees.
Hundreds of millions of dollars will be lost as the gaming venues lose funds daily from being shutdown due to this massive pandemic. The hope is that the closure will cause the coronavirus to slow down and we will be able to handle the influx of patients in hospitals as intensive care is needed.