AGA commends Senate’s passage of the CARES Act

The AGA has applauded the Senate’s decision to pass a $2 trillion care package for communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has commended the US Senate’s passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, saying it would help support the gambling industry during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bill Miller, the AGA’s president and chief executive has urged the House of Representatives to move fast and pass the legislation so that President Donald Trump can sign off on it as soon as possible. Trump has however already pledged to sign the bill as soon as he can.

This news comes after the AGA warned that the US economy could face a $43.5bn hit due to the shutdown of the country’s gambling sector. This week, the final set of commercial casinos in the country closed their doors to help halt the spread of the virus.

The CARES Act

The bill, which was introduced by Kentucky Senator and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, consists of a $2 trillion stimulus package for people, businesses and states affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

This will include emergency loans for businesses, as well as air carries, who will also have aviation taxes suspended. Bridge loans will also be provided for small businesses along with grants and technical assistance.

If approved, the legislation will also make tax rebates of $1,200 available for individuals, with additional payments of $500 per qualifying child along with limits on the requirements for employers to provide paid leave for workers.  The rebates available will decline based on an individual person’s salary from $75,000 and above.

When it comes to taxes, the bill sets out special rules on tax-favoured withdrawals from retirement plans and delays the due date for corporation and employer payroll taxes.

There were some disagreements on certain aspects of the bill with Republican Senators pushing for provisions to ensure those who lost their jobs could not earn more from the bill than they would have in their current job. All members of the chamber voted in favour of the bill.

The AGA’s reaction to the CARES Act

In its response to the passage of the CARES Act in the House, the AGA said it will bring “meaningful relief for employees, employers, and tribal governments” during the pandemic.

Bill Miller said: “This bipartisan Senate bill is an important step to preserve the gaming industry’s ability to continue to serve as a valuable job creator and community partner. We urge the House to move swiftly to pass this legislation.

“With almost all of the country’s commercial and tribal gaming facilities closed, an estimated 650,000 direct gaming employees are idled. If the industry remains shut down for two months, it will jeopardize the livelihoods of those individuals as well as the 17,000 gaming supplier jobs and 350,000 American small business workers supported by the gaming industry.”

The AGA said it will continue to engage with congressional and administration leadership on additional measures to respond to the pandemic.

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