US – AGA welcomes added protection for small businesses but says it still falls ‘woefully short’By Phil - 15 April 2020
American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller has welcomed the revised interim regulatory guidelines that the Small Business Administration issued for the Paycheck Protection Program saying they showed ‘some progress’ but fell ‘woefully short of fully addressing antiquated, discriminatory policies.’
“The Small Business Administration (SBA) today released revised regulatory guidelines that will allow additional small businesses that derive revenue from legal gaming to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (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. 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 (AGA) 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.
“The AGA will continue to strongly advocate for relief that supports the displaced gaming workforce and gaming companies of all sizes through this crisis.”
Last Thursday, the AGA wrote President Trump regarding the Paycheck Protection Program. Dozens of bipartisan members of Congress also called the administration and wrote letters regarding gaming’s exclusion from the program. Casino gaming is vital to local small businesses, supporting 350,000 small business jobs and delivering $52bn 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 dramatically affected by a local casino’s closure. In many states, gaming pays among the highest tax rates of any industry with $10.7bn in gaming taxes and tribal revenue share payments that support fundamental and critical programs from infrastructure to education.