Casey Clark, Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications at the American Gaming Association (AGA), has issued a stark warning to policy makers on the potentially devastating impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the US casino industry.

His statement confirmed the news that as of Wednesday afternoon nearly all (94%) of the country’s commercial casinos have shuttered their doors in addition to 37% of tribal casinos.

Clark warned: “These mass closures have affected a staggering 96% of the casino workforce and will rob the US economy of $21.3bn in direct consumer spending if the casinos remain closed for the next eight weeks.” 

According to Clark, employees from every sector of the casino gaming industry have felt the repercussions of government-mandated property closures across the United States.

He added: “The American Gaming Association, in partnership with our colleagues across the hospitality sector, is engaged with Congressional and administration leadership to shape stimulus and aid packages that will support employees, their families, and our communities through this unprecedented crisis.”

In an accompanying information sheet, the AGA emphasized that despite mandatory shutdowns and a near economic standstill, gaming companies are working to pay employees and provide health insurance coverage for as long as possible. 

“We support swift government action to protect the health and safety of American communities,” said the association. “But equally urgent action is needed to mitigate the dire impact these closures will have on hundreds of thousands of US casino employees and the businesses that employ them. 

“Government action is essential to ensure casino and resort staff and businesses weather the current storm and come through it as the reliable economic driver, job creator, and community partner they are in cities and states across our nation.” 

Headline figures

  • 438 (94%) of the country’s commercial casinos, plus an additional 196 (37%) tribal casinos, have closed. 
  • These 635 casino closures represent nearly two-in-three (64%) of all gaming properties in the country. 
  • Nearly 534,000 casino gaming and resort employees or 96% of the total US casino workforce have been affected. 
  • Casino closures risk nearly $59bn in total wages annually for workers and their families. 
  • Casino gaming generates $34.4bn in annual total tax revenue and tribal revenue share in the 36 states with shuttered properties. 
  • If the 635 casinos stay closed for the next eight weeks, it will cost the US economy $21.3bn in direct consumer spending.