AGA: SBA forgivable loan guidelines leave out small gaming companies Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · April 3, 2020 at 3:44 pm The American Gaming Association said Friday that small gaming companies were precluded from the interim regulatory guidelines issued by the Small Business Administration Thursday and asked that changes be made. The rules cover $349 billion in forgivable loans that small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can use to cover costs, including payroll and rent. The interim final rule lays out additional implementation guidelines and requirements for the Paycheck Protection Program that was created as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. In a statement, AGA CEO Bill Miller said the guidelines left out the 350,000 small local businesses that service the nation’s casino industry. Nearly the entire commercial and tribal casino industry in 43 states has been shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. It is unclear how long the closures will last. “In (the) SBA’s efforts to quickly issue guidance on the PPP, they relied on antiquated, discriminatory regulations that ignore today’s economic reality and the congressional intent behind the CARES Act, which states that any business concern shall be eligible to receive an SBA loan if they meet specific qualifications regarding their number of employees,” Miller said. “Unless amended, these initial guidelines will irreparably harm one-third of the U.S. casino industry and the hundreds of thousands of Americans that rely on gaming businesses for their livelihood,” Miller added. Miller asked that SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza “correct this oversight.” According to the AGA, more than half of the 1.8 million jobs gaming supports are at non-gaming businesses, such as restaurants and local shops, all of which are dramatically affected by a local casino’s closure. The trade organization said that, in many states, gaming pays among the highest tax rates of any industry, with “$10.7 billion in gaming taxes and tribal revenue share payments that support fundamental and critical programs from infrastructure to education.” In a letter to SBA and the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Washington D.C-based AGA said the inclusion of gaming businesses in the PPP is critical “to help ensure employees can remain connected to their employers, stay off of unemployment, and quickly return to their jobs when this pandemic subsides.” According to the Journal of Accountancy, the new rule provides clarity on several issues and changes the interest rate on loans made under the program from 0.5% to 1%, a change the American Bankers Association said would encourage banks of all sizes to participate in the program. Miller said the needed relief should be extended “to all of America’s small businesses and their employees, including those in the communities across 43 states that rely on our industry’s contributions.” Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.