Call for help
Native American gaming operators across the United States have asked the federal government to grant a financial relief package totaling $18bn. There have been similar calls from the commercial casino industry in the country as the coronavirus pandemic has forced the most casinos to close.
All of these casino operators are concerned that their businesses will be engulfed by this crisis and its workers left unemployed.
worried that they will not be able to provide adequate education and health services
The Native American tribes are sovereign nations and they rely heavily on revenues from these gambling facilities. The tribes are worried that they will not be able to provide adequate education and health services if this revenue dries up. Many operators will also default on loans unless they receive help.
Letter sent to members of Congress
The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) has sent a letter to members Congress calling for aid. “Providing the means for tribal governments to continue paying all employees’ salaries and benefits will immensely help this country recover,” according to the letter.
NIGA represents the interest of 184 tribes. In addition to financial help, it is also calling on Congress to introduce legislation that would allow for a temporary 26-week restructuring and suspension of interest rate accrual for all loans belonging to the tribes and their related entities.
Important sector for employment
As the tribes are sovereign nations, they do not have to comply with directives ordering casino closures. However, these tribal facilities have been closing voluntarily following advice issued by state governments.
Likelihood of securing aid
Naturally, the gambling industry is not seen as an essential service when compared to the hospitality and airline industries. However, hundreds of billions of dollars is generated by the sector, with governments all over the country relying on tax revenue from gambling companies.
more than 1.8 million people employed in the commercial casino sector across the US
According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), more than 1.8 million people employed in the commercial casino sector across the US. With many commercial and tribal gambling interests teetering on the edge of ruin, it could spell disaster for employment and local economic activity.
President Donald Trump is proposing an overall stimulus package worth $850bn. Therefore, tribal casinos are seeking 2% of this sum. This would be separate from the aid package being sought by commercial casinos.