VIE 10 DE ABRIL DE 2020 - 15:13hs.
Most of country’s 989 casinos have been closed

US Senate passes US$2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that includes gaming sector

The US Senate late on Wednesday night unanimously passed the third phase of the country’s COVID-19 relief package, a more than US$2 trillion stimulus proposal designed to help businesses and workers get through the coronavirus pandemic. Among the sectors that pushed hard for the massive relief bill is the gambling industry, which has been forced to close in recent weeks.

US Senate passes US$2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that includes gaming sector

Picture: Santa Maria Times

Picture: Santa Maria Times

The bill is designed to help businesses of all sizes, many of which are completely shut down due to state attempts to control the spread of the virus, as well as millions of workers who face economic uncertainty as their positions have either been furloughed or terminated.

There are many aspects of the COVID-19 phase three bill that can give a boost to the gaming industry. Of the 989 commercial and tribal casinos in the US, all of the commercial casinos have been closed and only a handful of tribal venues remain open. As a result, 650,000 casino workers have either been furloughed or laid off due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Individuals who make up to US$75,000 will receive a US$1,200 refundable tax credit and households earning US$150,000 will get US$2,400. In addition, taxpayers with children will receive an extra US$500 per child. The credits begin to phase out at higher income levels, with individuals making US$99,000 and households earning US$198,000 not getting a credit.

Eligible taxpayers will get the credit as a direct rebate either into their bank accounts or by a paper check.

Gaming companies, along with other businesses across various sectors, will be eligible to receive funding from a US$454 billion pool that’s in the Senate’s COVID-19 relief bill. The funds could be used for loans, loan guarantees, and other investments utilized by the Treasury Secretary and the Federal Reserve. Companies that get money from this will have some restrictions, including bans against stock buybacks and executive pay increases.

The bill also allows employers to defer their share of the payroll tax for up to two years and carryback net operating losses over the previous five years. Companies will also receive a tax credit for retaining employees equal to half of each worker’s salary. That includes tipped employees.

“Workers who have already lost their jobs due to this crisis can be rehired and paid under our program, and that should be our goal,” said Senator Susan Collins on Wednesday night.

The Senate’s COVID-19 relief bill now moves to the House, which is expected to pass the emergency spending package, unprecedented in size, by the end of the week. It will then go to President Trump, who earlier in the day, signaled yet again he would quickly sign the bill into law.

Source: GMB /