AGA President Bill Miller forecasts the gambling industry will do better in 2021 and would like more aid from the US to pick up the speed.
Industry Expected to Do Well This Year, AGA President Says
The US gambling industry is in desperate need of additional financial aid, as it tries to recover from the severe hit it took during the pandemic. American Gaming Association (AGA) President Bill Miller shared Thursday in an online conference that he expects the industry to further recover in the second half of 2021, as vaccination becomes widespread and gambling facilities reopen.
During his speech yesterday, he promised to fight tax increases and new taxes on gambling operations as the industry pushes towards its economic recovery. Miller said it hopes the government will give more financial aid to the tourism industry, tightly linked to casino revenue.
“I believe there’s huge pent-up demand for gaming. People will be excited to travel as vaccines roll out, hungry for entertainment, desperate to escape from their homes, and just have fun again. That’s an environment where gaming will thrive,” Miller said.
The shutdown of most casinos in New Jersey and their reopening in July at a 25% capacity, still ongoing, significantly hit the industry. Gambling properties reported 44% less revenue from customers in 2020 compared to 2019, although online gaming and sports betting helped to minimize the annual turnover decline to less than 20%.
Push for More Support
The US gambling industry received federal aid last year. Miller said the AGA will push for the industry to be included in President Joe Biden’s proposed Covid-19 stimulus package valued at $1.9 trillion. “We are fighting to save gaming jobs,” Miller insisted. “We will pursue new tax policies that support gaming companies who keep employees on the payroll, and rehire laid-off workers.”
Miller sent Thursday morning a letter to the new administration and all Members of Congress, highlighting the jobs and economy of the gambling industry in local communities.
Despite the drop in revenue in March after records numbers in January and February, Miller said that US sports betting generated over $21 billion in bets in 2020, with $210 million in state tax revenue. The trend should keep going this year, with the activity being legalized in more states.
iGaming, although only legal in four states, brought almost $1.4 billion in turnover, with $340 million in tax revenue, just for the January-November period.