Coronavirus halts $115 billion in casino wages and tax payments

Monday 23rd March 2020

The coronavirus has forced shutdowns and closures of over 90% of U.S. casino properties halting annualized payments of $74 billion in wages and $41 billion in tax revenues.

Approximately 920 casinos have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic (445 commercial and 475 tribal casinos) representing 92% of all gaming properties in the U.S. The casino closures have affected 644,000 casino gaming and resort employees from earning a wage since these are not jobs that are conducive to working from home. This is leaving workers without over $74 billion in annualized wages according to the American Gaming Association (AGA).

Additionally, the closures are halting payments in $41 billion in tax revenue and tribal sharing revenue nationwide. This revenue is often used to support local hospitals, first responder services and vital public services.

"The federal government must act swiftly and comprehensively to get America's hospitality employees, and the small businesses that support them, back to work," said Bill Miller, president of the AGA, in a press release. "Gaming employees, their families, and communities are bearing the brunt of this economic standstill and will continue to suffer if Congress and the administration don't take immediate action. In total, these mass closures will rob the U.S. economy of $43.5 billion in economic activity if American casinos remain closed for the next eight weeks."

It could be expected that the number of closed casinos will continue to rise as the coronavirus pandemic spreads and more cities and states are issuing "shelter in place" restrictions on the general public. The data was last updated on March 22, 2020 at 11 a.m.

Beyond the direct impact to the gaming and hospitality industries affected by the closures, the AGA estimated that an additional $52 billion is spent on services from small businesses supporting legalized gaming will be at risk including construction, manufacturing, retail, and wholesale firms. An estimated 350,000 small business employees work to support the gaming industry.

Should the coronavirus pandemic continue on into the summer and fall, there will be additional repercussions for the sports teams that have been seeing an increase in revenue due to the recent legalization of sports betting. The NFL alone stands to lose over $2 billion in potential sport betting related revenue. In the most recent Super Bowl, the AGA estimated that 26 million American adults placed a bet on the game, up from 23 million a year ago. Much of that increase was due to expanded legalized sports betting.

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