On Wednesday, President Trump reportedly announced that he would consider allowing small casinos and gambling businesses access to the Paycheck Protection Program. The plan is being used to provide access to emergency loans for payroll needs of companies during the coronavirus outbreak. The president was asked about the need for gaming industry help and stated that no one has told him about it and he will look at it ‘strongly’.
The problem with the gambling industry being left out of the PPP was raised by members of the congressional delegation in Nevada as well as a Colorado Senator and the gaming industry. The Small Business Administration’s program did not cover certain businesses connected to the gaming industry that need help at this time.
In a letter submitted to the House and Senate this week, the proponents stated that many casinos and hotels that are small businesses employ tens of thousands of people in Nevada who make up the backbone of the economy. The businesses are located in rural areas as well as large cities and are struggling at this time. Many small businesses in Nevada like restaurants, grocery stores, bars and convenience stores rely on gaming equipment they operate to provide revenues.
In Nevada, many small stores offer slots and video poker games. Such businesses would be eligible for the loans if they had less than 500 employees. But they do not. Lawmakers pointed out that the Paycheck Protection Program was created for small businesses during the nationwide economic downturn cased by the coronavirus, so the gamin businesses should be included.
Other Federal Help Issues
When it comes to the PPP, several criteria have kept businesses like the small casino operations from obtaining assistance. Other options, like the federal payments coming to individuals have also come under scrutiny. Americans are expected a stimulus package where adults will receive a certain amount of money as well as their dependents. However, certain age groups are restricted, such as those who are 17 to 23.
This age group does not qualify for the $500 payment when still living at home due to being too old. And they also get locked out of the larger payment of $1,200 because their parents still provide more than half their income when being a dependent in college. So in a region like Las Vegas, the younger group may work in the casino industry and go to school, being out of the option to earn money from their employer and the federal government.
Overall, it is a very difficult time for everyone. In the gaming industry, efforts are being made to see businesses obtain help from the federal government and employees receive payroll from gaming operators. Changes continue to be made seemingly almost daily as local, state and federal government try to figure out how to move forward during this unprecedented time.
It would not be surprising to find that smaller casino businesses gain access to help in the future, but if and when it will come is anyone’s guess.