AGA CEO Asks President Trump to Revise SBA’s PPP Loans for Gaming

Bill Miller, AGA CEO, has urged President Trump backed by members of Congress, to review the relief offered by SBA to small businesses and extended under the PPP loans to include gaming companies.

AGA Continues to Criticize SBA Coronavirus Relief Measures

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has addressed a letter to US President Donald Trump, after it became known that an economic package of measures to cushion the impact from the coronavirus lockdown proposed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) could leave small gaming companies out of the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program loans.   

Sounding the alarm on what AGA called a glaring oversight, AGA CEO Bill Miller addressed a letter to the President, arguing that the measures discriminated against these businesses and, more importantly, the hundreds of thousands of employees in the gaming sector, putting their livelihoods at risk.

Miller’s letter was endorsed by 14 bipartisan members of Congress whose states are heavily reliant on the well-being of the gaming industry. The letter was also addressed to SBA administrator Jovita Carranza who had proposed the measures in conjunction with financial experts.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, President Trump said on Wednesday that the administration would consider revisiting the proposed relief package.

The Issue with the CARES Act

Responding to a crippling economic deadlock brought around by the coronavirus lockdown, the United States has established the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Review, and Economic Security Act (CARES), which will however not seek to assist companies that generate over a third of their revenue through gaming and gambling activities – at least under the current provisos of the agreement.

In other words, these companies wouldn’t qualify for the PP under current guidelines, something Miller described as discriminatory in his letter to Trump:

“Specifically, these interim rules rely on antiquated, discriminatory policy that renders small gaming entities ineligible to receive critical loan assistance designed to help small businesses pay their employees”

AGA CEO Bill Miller

Miller called SBA’s decision unjustified and highlighted that the intent of the CARES Act would be to help more businesses rather than discriminate against some. Dem. Senator Jacky Rosen joined Miller arguing that many communities across the United States were heavily reliant on gambling.

Nevada is just one of those heavily affected states, but there are others, such as New Jersey as well as Pennsylvania. However, in all of these states, some companies have decided to retain their employees for a period of minimum two months, although many have been furloughed as well.

Supporting Local Communities and 1.8M Workers

Representative Dina Titus, D-Nev., reminded that Las Vegas is one of the key drivers for tourism and traveling in the United States and leaving it outside CARES would be a grave oversight. More calls for solidarity have been heard from people like Senator Mike Rounds, R-SD, has said that his community in Deadwood relies on the casino for the livelihood of some 1,2000 people.

Another point made by AGA in the official counter-argument was that the gaming industry supports many people who don’t necessarily work in it. With 1.8 million people employed directly or indirectly in the gambling industry, at least half work at a non-gaming business, meaning some 900,000 employees still depend on hubs such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

These numbers have grown significantly from 2013 when the industry had 1.3 million people on the payroll. Miller reminded the President and SBA that in many states, gambling also contributed the highest tax amount.  

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