The American Gaming Association (AGA) has repeated its call for the federal government to support the US gambling industry after the last remaining commercial casinos temporarily closed their doors in response to the outbreak of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
South Dakota had been the only state in which casinos remained open, but after Deadwood Mayor Dave Ruth Jr. ordered the closure of casinos in the city, this means that all 465 commercial casinos across the US have now shut.
Around 97% of the 524 tribal casinos in the US have also closed, with just 16 smaller locations still open.
According to the AGA, this mass closure means 98% of all gaming venues across the US are now closed, in a move that has affected 98% of the country’s casino workforce – almost 649,000 people – putting around $74bn in annual wages at risk.
Last week, the AGA said the federal government should step in to support the US gambling industry due to the shutdown, saying that if casinos remained closed for the next two months, this could cost the US economy as much as $43.5bn.
The AGA has now repeated this call, saying the closure of all casinos means it is now even more important for the federal government to help workers.
“We support swift government action to protect the health and safety of American communities,” the AGA said. “But equally urgent action is needed to mitigate the dire impact these closures will have on hundreds of thousands of US casino employees and the businesses that employ them.
“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.”