Casino industry estimates $21B in economic losses from coronavirus

Casino industry estimates $21B in economic losses from coronavirus
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The American Gaming Association (AGA) found that if casinos stay closed for the next eight weeks, it will cost the U.S. economy $21.3 billion in direct consumer spending, according a report released on Wednesday.

Ninety-four percent of the commercial casinos in the U.S. were closed as of Wednesday afternoon and 37 percent of tribal casinos. More than 530,000 gaming industry employees are out of work, which is 96 percent of the total U.S. casino workforce, according to AGA.

The group said it is working with the White House and Congress on relief packages for these employees and providing lawmakers with specific ideas that will provide the liquidity needed to support employees.

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“The American Gaming Association, in partnership with our colleagues across the hospitality sector, is engaged with Congressional and administration leadership to shape stimulus and aid packages that will support employees, their families, and our communities through this unprecedented crisis,” Casey Clark, the AGA's senior vice president of strategic communications, said in a statement.

Casino closures could lead to nearly $59 billion in total wage loss annually for casino workers. Additionally, casino gaming typically generates $34.4 billion in annual total tax revenue.

The AGA also noted that half the jobs the gaming industry supports are at non-gaming businesses such as restaurants and local shops.

Earlier this week, the National Retail Federation asked for a direct, government-based loan program, and the National Restaurant Association called for financial relief, loans and tax measures to help it combat the crisis.

The airline industry, through Airlines for America, requested $50 billion in the form of grants, loans and tax relief to weather the coronavirus downturn. And the tourism industry, through the U.S. Travel Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, has called for $150 billion in overall relief.