The American gaming industry is hoping to benefit from efforts by the federal government to relieve the pressure on the US economy during the COVID-19 crisis.
Last Friday, President Donald Trump signed a federal relief bill into law that will provide $2 trillion worth of liquidity, support and tax relief to small businesses, along with other measures that could potentially help the gaming industry. These funds will be made available for states to apportion to industries within their territory, based on payroll and tax revenue figures.
And the gaming industry, which was hit hard by the 2008-09 financial crisis is hoping that it will be able to benefit from the relief package. Almost all commercial gaming venues in the United States are now closed down, with no clear date set for a return. According to the American Gaming Association, that has resulted in around 650,000 employees having to stop work, and as much as $43.5 billion worth of economic activity put at risk.
Speaking about the difficulties, the President and CEO of the AGA, Bill Miller, said that they had made the case to all state bodies about the importance of the gaming industry:
“We’ve made the case that we are important employers and important economic engines, whether it’s the Gulf Coast, tribal country in Oklahoma or Western Pennsylvania. These legislators understand that they don’t want to see these gaming communities go down.”
The fledgling sports betting sector in the US has also been hit. In-person sports betting has shut down across the nation, and although online sports betting is still available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Indiana, there is very little sport to bet on, with all major leagues in the US having suspended their schedules. There has been an increase in betting on esports and on poker, but neither will be able to outweigh the loss of the bulk of gambling events.