Casinos have joined the long list of industries asking Congress for emergency financial help in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new report.
The Washington Post reported that a person speaking on condition of anonymity said a representative of Wynn Resorts had raised the possibility of seeking cash payments on a strategy call Monday with members of the American Gaming Association.
The requested aid comes from the severe financial hit taken by the entertainment districts in Las Vegas and other tourist destinations.
Lobbyists are hoping for financial aid similar to what lawmakers are in discussions to provide for airlines, cruise companies and the hospitality industry.
The additional funds are needed to support casino companies and their employees, according to a statement from the American Gaming Association.
“As state governments close casinos as part of the urgent 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,” the AGA told The Post.
“Our immediate priorities are actions that provide liquidity to allow us to support employees,” it said.
A number of states have demanded casinos, restaurants and bars close in response to coronavirus pandemic in order to reduce potential exposure among crowds.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the closure of the nine casinos in Atlantic City on Monday “until such time as it is deemed safe for their reopening,” according to The Press of Atlantic City.
“It is no longer time for business as usual,” Murphy said. “This is real. Stop believing folks who say this isn’t real.”
Wynn Resorts announced it was closing its Wynn Las Vegas and Encore properties for at least two weeks, starting Tuesday. MGM Resorts International will also close its Las Vegas casino operations and hotels.
In order to keep our employees and guests safe, we have decided to close Wynn Las Vegas and Encore on Tuesday, March 17, at 6 pm. We anticipate that we will be closed for two weeks, after which we will evaluate the situation. Visit https://t.co/ZVdFo0wUMc for regular updates.
— Wynn Las Vegas (@WynnLasVegas) March 16, 2020
However, some casinos are continuing their operations despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce in-person contact, The Post reported.
The Trump administration has announced it will help the oil and gas industries during this pandemic by buying oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The congressional package currently being discussed in the Senate does not include bailouts for the airline or hospitality industries, but assistance is expected in a third package.
Some of the ideas being considered are deferring federal taxes and providing zero or low-interest loans.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said any financial assistance should not be described as a “bailout.”
“This is not a bailout,” he told lawmakers. “This is considering providing certain things for certain industries.”
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