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AGA Calls for State Support during Covid-19

by Danny Maiorca

Calls to soften the blow on the gambling industry

The AGA has decided to ask state governments for support, with the US gambling industry feeling the impact of the novel coronavirus.

Governments across the country have introduced measures to stop the disease from spreading, including a 30-day shutdown of all casinos in Nevada.

According to the association’s Chief Executive Bill Miller, it’s estimated that 60% of casino employees have been affected. Noting that this would have a “dire effect on the communities in which we operate across 43 states”, he also said the below.

“In a matter of days, the US casino industry went from a growing, thriving segment of the US economy to a near standstill.

“As state governments close casinos as a part of the urgent public health response to Covid-19, elected leaders should move just as urgently to support the workers and businesses who will bear the brunt of those effects.”

Tribal casinos also in need of governmental assistance

The National Indian Gaming Association is also looking for help from the US government. There are around 460 tribal casinos across the country, all of which are in the process of closing due to the virus.

In a letter addressed to the US House of Representatives, which was also backed by various Native American organizations, the association argued that:

“Providing the means for tribal governments to continue paying all employees’ salaries and benefits will immensely help this country recover”.

The letter suggested that tribes are given a federal aid share of around 2%, from President Donald Trump’s proposed $850 billion economic stimulus package. This percentage is in proportion with their share of the US population.

Tribal casinos in the US employ over 700,000 people altogether, both directly and indirectly. These outlets brought in over $37 billion in revenue in 2017, making them the largest section of the US gambling industry – according to the organization.

Although Native American tribes are deemed to be sovereign, they are following the country’s state and federal governments’ advice to reduce the impact of Covid-19.

Compared to state and local governments, tribes tend to have not much of a tax base – if any at all. They therefore rely on casinos, hotels and alike enterprises to bring in revenue.

Operator stock prices fall as Covid-19 causes disruption

A number of US casinos and sportsbooks have suffered dramatic drops on their stock prices as a result of the current crisis.

Caesars has seen its price go down from $13.79 on January 30th to $6.08 on March 16th, a change of -55.91%. Elsewhere, MGM Resorts’ stock price has plummeted from $31.30 to $10.24 (-67.28%).

Diamond Eagle, which is the acquirer of DraftKings, has watched its price on the stock market decline by 19.56% to $11.80. Meanwhile, Stars Group has fallen from $24.42 to $13.35 – a drop of 45.33%.

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