The casino industry operators in the US were among the first impacted by the global spread of the coronavirus /Covid-19/, initially starting with the overseas operations in Macau and now culminating in the closure of almost all land-based casinos in the US and the latest press release of the American Gaming Association /AGA/ is a strong reminder that a lot is at stake. The AGA claims that the statewide shutdown of casinos would cost the economy $43.5 billion in a period of two months.
Responsibility Goes Both Directions
Being responsible to the society and to assist the effort to halt the spread of the virus infection, the casino operators closed doors of their facilities. Being responsible to their employees, the casino companies continue paying their wages and health insurance coverage for as long as possible, even though they are at an economic standstill and closed.
Casino Industry In Crisis
The closures, however, have a dire impact on hundreds of thousands of casino workers and the businesses that hire them, the AGA argues, asking for government support for the industry to help weather the storm and remain the reliable economic community partner that creates jobs and drives the economy forward.
The AGA points out that 443 of the country’s commercial casinos, 95%, and an additional 429, 82%, of the country’s 524 tribal casinos, a total 88% representation of the gaming properties in the US, have already closed, affecting 622,000 casino workers and resort employees, 88% of all employed within the industry, putting $74 billion of wages annually for their families at risk.
Negative Casino Closure Impact Spillover Effect
In addition, casino gaming generates $41 billion in annual tax revenue for the local communities nationwide, to help them fund hospitals, first responders, and vital public services, and the spillover effect for other industries will be significant as nearly half the workforce of the casino operator companies are in non-gaming businesses such as restaurants and local shops, both of which have been affected by the casino closures.
Even small domestic businesses would feel the pressure to their balance sheets by the closed down gaming facilities as the casino industry is delivering $52 billion in revenue annually for construction, manufacturing, retail, and wholesale firms.
All Eyes On The Federal Government
The AGA continues that the casino industry disruption is creating uncertainty that impacts nearly 2 million people that have their jobs supported by gaming, as well as leaving the operations of the entire hospitality industry in limbo, and during these unprecedented times of health crisis, it is government actionsthat should stand tall.
“The federal government must act swiftly and comprehensively to get America’s hospitality employees, and the small businesses that support them, back to work. Gaming employees, their families, and communities are bearing the brunt of this economic standstill and will continue to suffer if Congress and the administration don’t take immediate action. In total, these mass closures will rob the U.S. economy of $43.5 billion in economic activity if American casinos remain closed for the next eight weeks.”Bill Miller, President and CEO, AGA