Finally, an amendment has been introduced by SBA which would allow small gambling businesses to weather the COVID-19 lockdown and receive federal funding.
The Latest PPP Changes Finally Get Approval from AGA
Following weeks of pressure and debates, the Small Business Administration (SBA) finally agreed to revise the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on Friday, April 24. The program had gone through several tweaks, mostly because of casinos and other gambling businesses protesting against the nature of the relief financial package, which precluded companies with at least one-third of their revenue owing to gambling.
The program was set up under the $2.2 trillion CARES Act created to protect the United States’ economy amid a country-wide lockdown due to COVID-19. The latest amendment has been the third time SBA has changed the eligibility criteria, tweaking the program in a way that covers the most people possible.
While the American Gaming Association (AGA) protested on the occasion of both previous amendments and even addressed a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, the association was happy with the recent developments.
Originally, SBA precluded businesses that generated one-third of their revenue from gambling, but then changed its stance to disqualify SMEs that failed to generate $1 million in total revenue and less than 50% of that revenue came from gambling.
In charting a correct course, SBA had to revise its policy one last time. AGA CEO Bill Miller said in a press release that the association was pleased with the latest developments:
We are pleased that the new regulatory guidelines released today make small gaming companies eligible for this critical program just as Congress has replenished its funding.
Time Wasted, Some Say
Some, including Dina Titus, co-chair for the Congressional Gaming Caucus, cautioned that SBA should have included gambling business from the start. While Miller praised the efforts of President Trump and his administration, Titus remained more skeptical saying this:
The Trump Administration’s attempt to prevent small gaming businesses from accessing grants and loans was foolish from the start. The people who work at these small businesses can finally get some relief.
Politicians Approve SBA’s Latest Amendment
More political figures agreed that the changes in the latest SBA update had been apt. Nevada Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto argued that the SBA’s latest update would guarantee the “much-needed help that small businesses in Nevada” needed.
Mark Amodei, a Republican Delegate in Nevada, shared that he was happy to see the legislation finally wrought in a manner that would allow affected businesses and their employees to genuinely benefit.
Should the guidelines had not been amended on Friday, that could have left 350,000 small local jobs in Nevada to fend for themselves. According to AGA, gambling doesn’t focus purely on casinos.
In fact, half of the 1.8 million jobs AGA now claims the industry supports have to do with other businesses that are not directly connected, but affected from how much interest in gambling there is.
Businesses, AGA specified, such as restaurants, local shops, not to mention producers and many other companies that the association didn’t count as affected.
Miller said that the association and its allies have fought relentlessly to secure a new policy that replaces the “antiquated” guidelines SBA operated on when it first drafted the PPP relief scheme earlier this month.