The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is deeply impacting the U.S. casino industry. Employees from every sector of the casino gaming industry – from commercial and tribal casinos and sportsbooks to gaming equipment manufacturing to hospitality and restaurants and the small businesses that support us – have felt the repercussions of government-mandated property closures across the United States.

U.S. casino gaming companies are doing their part to assist American workers during these unprecedented times. Despite mandatory shutdowns and a near economic standstill, gaming companies are working to pay employees and provide health insurance coverage for as long as possible. The American Gaming Association announced it will support swift government action to protect the health and safety of American communities.

But equally urgent action is needed to mitigate the dire impact these closures will have on hundreds of thousands of U.S. casino employees and the businesses that employ them. The AGA states that we need to ensure casino and resort staff and businesses weather the current storm and come through it as the reliable economic driver, job creator, and community partner they are in cities and states across our nation.

Unprecedented Casino Closures

In a matter of days, most of the country’s casinos have shuttered their doors:

• All of the country’s 465 commercial casinos, plus 508 (97 percent) of the country’s 524 tribal casinos, have closed.
• These 973 casino closings represent 98 percent of all gaming properties in the country.

Unprecedented Impact on American Workers

As of this writing, casino closures affect:

• Nearly 649,000 casino gaming and resort employees or 98 percent of the total U.S. casino workforce.
• Casino closures risk more than $74 billion in total wages annually for workers and their families.

Big Blow to Local Communities

This week’s casino closures will reverberate across local communities:
• Casino gaming supports $41 billion in annual tax revenue and tribal revenue sharing nationwide – essential support for local hospitals, first responders, and vital public services.
• Half the jobs our industry supports are at non-gaming businesses such as restaurants and local shops – all will be dramatically affected by a local casino’s closure.
• Casino gaming is vital to local small businesses, delivering $52 billion annually in small business revenue including construction, manufacturing, retail, and wholesale firms. 

Huge Hit to the National Economy

Casino gaming is an economic engine for dozens of local economies:

• If America’s casinos stay closed for the next two months, it will cost the U.S. economy $43.5 billion in economic activity.

Broad Damage Beyond Direct Casino Workers and Businesses

The impact to gaming businesses goes beyond the casino floor – it creates deep uncertainty impacting nearly two million Americans whose jobs are supported by gaming and disproportionately affects the operations of the entire hospitality industry. In just the weeks leading up to recent, widespread business closures have caused:

• A sharp decline in U.S. hotel occupancy.
• Nearly a third (28 percent) of U.S. travelers have deferred trips.
• 40 percent of group meetings and events have been cancelled for the next 90-120 days and 20 percent after July.
• Most shoppers (89 percent) worry the coronavirus will get worse in the U.S over the next month, and as a result 27 percent say they will make fewer trips to retail stores.
• Restaurants saw a 56 percent reduction in seated diners versus a year ago – and that was before multiple states ordered the closing of restaurants.

American casino gaming employees and businesses are adversely affected by all of these.

Who is the American Casino Industry?

We are economic engines in communities across the country. We are entertainment hubs where Americans come to work, see a show, enjoy a great meal, or try their luck on the casino floor. We are hosts and conveners for conferences, tradeshows and conventions. We are small business advocates, supporting more than 350,000 small business employees who supply and work with our industry. We are investors in critical infrastructure, inserting billions of dollars in tax revenue and tribal revenue share into communities across 43 states. We will continue to serve these important roles throughout this public health crisis and in our communities’ recovery in the weeks and months ahead.