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AGA: 92% of nation’s casinos have closed due to coronavirus

Updated March 21, 2020 - 5:37 pm

Like gaming operations in Nevada, nearly all other casinos in the nation are feeling pain: 910 casinos — 92 percent of the U.S. total — are closed.

A spokeswoman for the American Gaming Association said Saturday that the closures affect an estimated 642,000 people, nearly all direct casino gaming employees in the country.

In Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday ordered the state’s 440 licensed casino properties to close in an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus ravaging the globe. The closure included devices at 1,977 licensed establishments with 15 slot machines or fewer at convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants and taverns.

The Washington D.C.-based gaming industry association said most of the nearly 100 casinos that remain open are tribal properties that are open in smaller convenience operations. Many tribes consider themselves sovereign nations not subject to orders from governors or state health authorities.

The only commercial casino properties that remain open are in Deadwood, South Dakota, and in Florida.

The mass closures are expected to rob the U.S. economy of $43.5 billion in economic activity if they remain closed for the next two months.

“The federal government must act swiftly and comprehensively to get America’s hospitality employees, and the small businesses that support them, back to work,” AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said in a Thursday statement. “Gaming employees, their families, and communities are bearing the brunt of this economic standstill and will continue to suffer if Congress and the administration don’t take immediate action.”

The Nevada Resort Association on Friday also urged Nevada’s congressional delegation to lobby for swift action to bring relief to the hospitality, tourism and meeting and convention industry and its vast workforce of more than 320,000 workers.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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