SBA again revises PPP guidelines; small gaming businesses can now apply for forgivable loans Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · April 24, 2020 at 4:13 pm The Small Business Administration revised its regulatory guidelines for the Paycheck Protection Program Friday, allowing small gaming businesses to apply for forgivable loans established under the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that is to assist companies nationwide that were closed by COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Twice, the SBA previously changed its position, first disqualifying small businesses that derived less than one-third of their revenues from gaming, followed by a decision a week later that disqualified small businesses with less than $1 million in total revenue and less than 50% of that revenue coming from legal gaming. According to the new guidelines, “A business that is otherwise eligible for a PPP Loan is not rendered ineligible due to its receipt of legal gaming revenues,” from applying for the forgivable loans that were part of the $349 billion set aside for the program. Congress recently approved an additional $310 billion in funds allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program. The American Gaming Association and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and congressional leaders sought the changes through weeks of lobbying the White House, the Treasury Department, and the SBA. Friday’s revised ruling was quickly applauded. “We are pleased that the new regulatory guidelines released today make small gaming companies eligible for this critical program just as Congress has replenished its funding,” AGA CEO Bill Miller said. Nevada Representative Dina Titus, who co-chairs the Congressional Gaming Caucus, said in a statement said the SBA and the Administration should have included gaming companies from the start. “I promised Nevadans that we would get this fixed and today we made good on that promise,” Titus said. “The Trump Administration’s attempt to prevent small gaming businesses from accessing grants and loans was foolish from the start. The people who work at these small businesses can finally get some relief.” In a joint statement, Nevada U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto said they were happy the calls for reform were answered. “This much-needed step is being taken to provide gaming small businesses in Nevada and across the country access to financial support and aid during this difficult time,” the senators said. “Nevada’s gaming small business community is a vital part of our state’s economy, and they deserve the same access to federal aid as any other legal business.” Rep. Mark Amodei, the lone Republican in the Nevada delegation, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “It’s just been such a full-speed hike the whole time that I’m just relieved that we were able to get the right thing done.” The former guidelines left out the 350,000 small, local business jobs that service the nation’s casino industry. Nearly 1,000 commercial and tribal casinos in 43 states have been shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. It is unclear how long the closures will last. 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. “Our allies have fought tirelessly to correct the Small Business Administration’s antiquated policy that precluded gaming companies from qualifying for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program,” Miller said. He added that he was grateful the administration recognized, “that commercial and tribal gaming industry employees deserve the same support available to other small businesses.” Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.