The American Gaming Association (AGA) has said that the widespread shutdown of casinos across the US could cost the country’s economy as much as $43.5bn over the next two months.
According to the AGA, 95% of all commercial casinos in the US have closed in the past week, while 76% of tribal casinos have shut their doors in line with state government orders to help slow the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
The AGA said the mass closure risks almost $74bn in total annual wages, with 98% of the whole gaming workforce – some 616,000 casino and resort employees – impacted by the shutdown.
The impact would go further than just those directly employed by the industry, the AGA warned. It said that commercial and tribal gaming accounts for around $41bn in revenue used to support local hospitals, first responders and other public services.
“The impact to gaming businesses goes beyond the casino floor,” the AGA explained. “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.”
Furthermore, the AGA said, casino gaming provides around $52bn each year in small business revenue, for sectors such as construction, manufacturing, retail, and wholesalers. The association said half of jobs supported by the gambling industry are at non-gaming businesses, such as restaurants and local shops, all affected by the shutdown.
Earlier this week, the AGA urged federal government to offer additional support to the gambling industry as the market continues to feel the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“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.
“Government action is essential 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.”