US Casinos Call on Government for Emergency Financial Aid

  • AGA wants US Congress to provide financial stimulus to casinos and workers
  • Casino lobbyists also pushing Washington for bailout package to help businesses survive
  • 40% of 1.8 million workers in gambling sector affected by coronavirus shutdown to date
  • Casino company share prices in US tumbling due to spread of pandemic
one Dollar bills around the word Coronavirus laid with wooden capital letters as symbol for the financial economic crisis
The American Gaming Association and casino lobbyists are calling on the US government to provide emergency financial relief to US casino businesses. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Worrying times for the sector

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has called on politicians to urgently provide financial stimulus to the country’s casinos.

Bill Miller, the AGA’s CEO, released a statement on Monday amid the worsening of the coronavirus pandemic. He said, “In a matter of days, the U.S. casino industry went from a growing, thriving segment of the U.S. economy to a near standstill.”

Casinos all across the US have been closing their doors for the foreseeable future, with the likes of Las Vegas now resembling a ghost town. 

Casinos also calling for aid

It is not just the AGA that is calling on elected officials to aid the casinos. Casino lobbyists have been pushing Congress for emergency financial relief for a number of days, according to Washington Post reports. This could result in a wide-ranging bailout package, something similar to what the nation’s airlines are looking for. 

casino lobbyists have been pushing Congress for emergency financial relief for a number of days

With the casino closures, many small businesses may have to shut down for good. Miller underlined that the AGA will be committed to closely working with government leaders after this crisis to help reinvigorate communities all across the nation. 

Other tools that could be used include deferring taxes or special protections against bankruptcy. A Wynn Resorts representative is allegedly looking to get direct cash payments from the government to help with the issue.

Workers being affected

According to the AGA, 40% of all casino workers in the country have been affected by the closures to date. This figure is only going to increase as more gambling facilities shut their doors. Miller emphasized that this will lead to dire consequences across the 43 states that have casinos under the AGA banner. 

The industry, worth $260bn in the US, employs 1.8 million people. Many are low-wage workers who are the most vulnerable during this type of crisis. 

A knock-on effect

In some instances, the casino companies themselves opted to shut their doors, even if temporarily. In other regions, it was state governments who made the decision.

Miller is calling on elected leaders to move quickly, saying:

Our immediate priorities are actions that provide liquidity to allow us to support employees.”

Miller also noted that the gaming industry is a resilient one. However, he acknowledged that a lot of small gambling businesses rely on casinos to survive.

Share prices tanking

As a result of the extensive casino shutdowns and the further escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, casino companies in the US have seen their share prices tumble. 

MGM Resorts has seen a drop of about 66% in its share price over the past month, with Caesars Entertainment seeing its price more than halved. With a lot of casino companies having high levels of debt, permanent closures look to be on the horizon in the absence of a bailout.