AGA CEO Urges Congress For Additional Covid-19 Relief

AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said Monday that US lawmakers must provide additional Covid-19 relief to support the gaming industry.

Important Relief but More Needed

American Gaming Association (AGA) President and CEO Bill Miller issued a statement on the new Covid-19 relief measures on Monday calling US lawmakers to take additional steps supporting businesses hit by the pandemic’s economic impact.

The AGA CEO praised the “bipartisan legislation” passed by Congress, which provides “important relief” to US citizens and businesses struggling financially, but said that more must be done to “address the economic challenges” the nation and the gaming industry face.

Mr. Miller declared that all actors of the gaming industry, “gaming communities, companies, and employees”, “have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic” through shutdowns, mandated restrictions, and necessary investments to enforce safety protocols to minimize the spread of the virus. “We’ve met these challenges with resolve and resilience,” he said.

The $900 billion Covid-19 relief deal includes $600 stimulus checks and support for small businesses and unemployed individuals. However, this much-needed relief fund will probably not be enough to help communities. Gaming companies support employment for nearly two million US workers, as well as “critical tax revenue” and “serve as economic engines in communities all across America,” Mr. Miller added, so it is necessary lawmakers set more measures towards recovery.

According to the statement, the AGA is looking forward to working with the Biden administration to aid gaming businesses in 2021 by providing tax relief “that will save gaming jobs and alleviate costs”, as well as “liability protections that advance responsible reopening, incentives for reviving travel and tourism, and essential support for tribal nations.”

US Retail Casinos Revenue Reaches $9 Billion in Q3

Mid-November, the AGA reported a positive revenue recovery in the third quarter for US retail casinos, hitting $9.04 billion, 19% less than in 2019. However, Q3 revenues went up 294% the previous quarter, historically low due to mandatory shutdowns during the pandemic.

Gaming revenue decreased by 36.5% year on year in the first three quarters of 2020, while the nation’s GDP declined by 3% over the same period. The industry’s slower recovery is a consequence of the companies’ focus on health and safety protocols to tackle Covid-19. This includes capacity restrictions and limited openings.

“As state and local officials respond to current Covid-19 outbreaks with additional restrictions, urgent Congressional action to provide Covid-19 relief is even more crucial. Gaming employees and communities depend on it,” Mr. Miller said in the company’s statement on November 16.

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