April 8, 2020
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
he White House
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
The American Gaming Association (AGA) appreciates your leadership during this extraordinarily difficult time for our nation. The gaming industry is among the sectors most severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, in large part, due to mandated closure of facilities, which has jeopardized the livelihoods of the 1.8 million Americans whose jobs we support across 43 states.
As you and your Administration continue to respond to the health, safety, and economic needs of the American people, I respectfully request your immediate intervention to address a significant problem with the Paycheck Protection Program’s (PPP) Interim Final Rules released by the Small Business Administration (SBA) on April 2, 2020. Specifically, these interim rules rely on antiquated, discriminatory policy that renders small gaming entities ineligible to receive critical loan assistance designed to help small businesses pay their employees.1
During this unprecedented time of business interruption and mandated closures, you clearly recognized through enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Review, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the need to assist a variety of small businesses that meet size-eligibility requirements. In addition to phone calls from dozens of bipartisan members of Congress to SBA over the past several days, the enclosed letters underscore the clear intent behind the legislation to help more, not fewer businesses during their time of need.2 The regional diversity of these Members also underscores the impact SBA’s unjustified decision will have on gaming workers and businesses in numerous states across the country.
The gaming industry is an important economic engine, job creator, and taxpayer in 43 states. We share your overriding interest in employees retaining their jobs so they can get back to work quickly once this situation has subsided. Individuals who are laid off will otherwise be pushed into unemployment assistance and Medicaid. Not only are workers better off when they remain connected to their employer, this approach has long-term benefits to our economy. The dislocation costs associated with widespread unemployment are severe. Maintaining employees on payroll avoids rehiring complications, saves on future training costs, and increases productivity, which is essential to a faster economic recovery.
In addition to gaming’s considerable needs to pay and provide for our own direct workforce, the gaming industry also supports 350,000 small business jobs. Making SBA resources available to size-eligible if certain size requirements are met (emphasis added). Small casinos, taverns, or restaurants with gaming qualify as “any business concern” and are therefore eligible for PPP loans. gaming businesses is the right thing to do. As it stands, the policy discriminates against these mainstream businesses and, more importantly, the hundreds of thousands of employees who rely on gaming for their livelihood.
Accordingly, I trust you will agree it is critical that gaming companies and their employees can benefit from SBA loan programs, as the CARES Act intended.
Thank you for your attention to this request and your continued leadership on behalf of our great nation.
William C. Miller, Jr.
Rep. Amodei (R-NV)
Rep. Reschenthaler (R-PA)
Rep. Gianforte (R-MT)
Rep. Titus (D-NV)
Rep. Horsford (D-NV)
Rep. Lee (D-NV)
Sen. Rounds (R-SD)
Sen. Tester (D-MT)
Sens. Rosen (D-NV), Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Bennet (D-CO)
Sens. McSally (R-AZ), Daines (R-MT), and Cramer (R-ND) Sen. Tester (D-MT)
Congressional Native American Caucus
Cc: Vice President Mike Pence
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows
1 Businesses identified in 13 CFR § 120.110 are ineligible for the Paycheck Protection Program loans. Excluded businesses include those “deriving more than one-third of gross annual revenue from legal gambling activities.”
2 Section 1102 of the CARES Act adds the new PPP to section 7a of the Small Business Act by providing that “in addition to a small business concerns, any business concern, nonprofit organization, or veterans organization shall be eligible to receive a [PPP] loan”
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