In the United States and the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) has reportedly asked the federal government to help its members offset the financial consequences of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak by handing out aid worth some $18 billion.
According to a Tuesday report from the Reuters news service, the trade group represents 184 tribes spread across the nation and made the request via an official letter sent to United States House of Representatives members Tom Cole and Deb Haaland. It purportedly argued that its members were suffering due to the fact that they were still paying employee salaries despite being forced to close many of their casinos so as to stave off the spread of the potentially-lethal pandemic.
The news service reported that NIGA also petitioned the two lawmakers to push for the passage of federal legislation that would initiate a 26-week suspension and restructuring period regarding any interest accrued on loans held by its members or their affiliated entities. The organization purportedly detailed that this is necessary because many aboriginal groups may soon begin to default on such advances and be unable to provide local education and health services due to a lack of casino-related income.
Reuters reported that NIGA arrived at the $18 billion figure because this represents approximately 2% of an $850 billion coronavirus-related economic stimulus package proposed by President Donald Trump on Tuesday. The influential enterprise purportedly detailed that aboriginal groups make up about the same proportion of the population of the United States with their over 460 casinos employing a combined 700,000 people.
Reportedly read NIGA’s letter…
“Providing the means for tribal governments to continue paying all employees’ salaries and benefits will immensely help this country recover.”
Reuters reported that most of the nation’s Native American tribes, unlike state and local governments, generally have little or no tax base and often rely on casinos and associated enterprises such as restaurants and hotels for income. However, the news services clarified that these groups still receive a large amount of cash from the federal government every year that they often utilize for education, infrastructure, health and public safety services.
Native Business Magazine used a separate Wednesday story to report that the United States’ $260 billion commercial casino industry may similarly begin advocating for federal support to see it through the coronavirus outbreak. Bill Miller, Chief Executive Officer for the American Gaming Association (AGA), purportedly told the source that the sector will likely need a cash bailout or additional funds to help keep itself afloat and pay employee wages.
Miller reportedly told Native Business Magazine…
“In a matter of days, the United States’ casino industry went from a growing and thriving segment of the economy to a near standstill.”