The US casino industry was one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, and it is now demanding that the federal government offers tax and regulatory relief as they try and recover.
The vast majority of casinos have since reopened, but COVID-19 regulations mean that they need to operate at restricted levels in a bid to stop the spread of the virus. Casinos say that they are in urgent need of extra financial help so that they can keep operations running, including paying their employees’ salaries.
A struggling casino industry has a chain reaction. The pandemic has seen states lose out more than $2 billion in lost tax revenue after casinos were shut for months on end.
The President of the American Gaming Association, Bill Miller made an official request for assistance in his annual State of the Casinos speech this week. He said that gaming in the US has never experienced a disrupton like COVID-19, pointing out that in March 2020, every single casino in the country was shut by government-mandated shutdowns. As a result, 1.8 million jobs were impacted.
Miller gave Detroit as an example of a state that was so badly hit by the pandemic. He said that the state lost $600,000 in gambling tax revenue for every single day that its casinos were shut. Maryland, overall, lost $209 million, and Pennsylvania a whopping $323 million.
“Gaming workers, their families, and the small businesses that depend on us have all been hit hard,” said the President. ”And our states and communities are feeling it, too. In addition to COVID’s impact on businesses, jobs, and the well-being of our families, friends and colleagues, state budgets have been decimated by the pandemic.”
Miller called for future assistance for the nation’s casino industry, including liability protection so that properties cannot be sued by clients if they contract COVID-19, as well as tax relief to help save jobs.