President Joe Biden continues to push for more COVID-19 relief, and it appears that more help is on the way.
While the biggest focus is on helping the average US citizen, casino workers are expected to benefit from the passing of the latest bill.
The American Rescue Plan was recently passed by both the House and Senate, and now heads to President Biden’s desk for signature. This is a $1.9 trillion relief package, and the casino industry is specifically targeted in the legislation.
Stimulus checks of $1,400 will be distributed to American taxpayers, and $350 billion will be distributed to state and local governments. The $400 weekly benefit for unemployed workers was removed by the Senate, but a $300 benefit was included.
Even though some casino properties have started to reopen throughout the United States, there are still a large number of unemployed or furloughed workers. This weekly benefit will help the workers make it through the coming months until the casino industry is back to fully running once again.
Another massive benefit is that these workers are eligible to receive a full subsidy to cover health insurance premiums. Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen of Nevada pushed for the coverage of health insurance premiums as a way to help unemployed casino workers.
The Employee Retention Tax Credit program was also extended as a part of this bill, and that will help casino properties keep more workers on staff. Casinos are eligible to apply for a tax credit worth up to $14,000 for each full-time employee that it keeps on staff through June 30.
Most of the casinos through the US closed temporarily during 2020. Some casinos are fortunate enough to have an online casino and players who have been keen to still play, have been able to access live casinos and table games in a state where online iGaming is legal. New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all have online casino gaming which has helped keep the money rolling in for the casinos to support workers.
Getting the casinos back up and running is still a huge priority for places such as Las Vegas, but it’s unclear how soon that could happen. Until that time, the US Government is taking appropriate and necessary steps to help casino workers and others that work in the hospitality industry.
Nevada, Tourist Destinations Also Getting Help
Not only have casino and hospitality workers suffered financial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the entire tourism industry has taken a major hit as well. Nevada, and most specifically Las Vegas, saw massive revenue losses over the past 12 months, but relief could soon be on the way.
Money was set aside for economies that were hit the hardest by the pandemic, but a recent change to the relief bill will provide additional funds. The House version of the bill gave $450 million to locations such as Las Vegas, while the Senate bill called for $750 million.
It is unclear how this money will be distributed after the bill is officially signed into law, but any help is much needed for the entire tourism industry. Tourism has started to pick back up since the calendar flipped to 2021, but things are not even close to where they were pre-pandemic.
Restrictions are still in place in most states throughout the country, and the airline industry continues to suffer. This money will help get the tourism industry through the next several months until more of the population is vaccinated and traveling once again.