The tally: 94% of the U.S. casino market, 96% of the gaming workforce sidelined by coronavirus pandemic Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · March 19, 2020 at 7:17 am The U.S. economy will lose $21.3 billion in direct consumer spending from the legal gaming industry over the next eight weeks due to the shutdown of virtually all casinos and resorts in the U.S. in an attempt to combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The American Gaming Association said Wednesday that 94% of the country’s commercial casinos, as well as 37% of the tribal casino industry, have closed. The shutdowns put 96% of the total U.S. casino gaming workforce – nearly 534,000 employees – out of a job. “Employees from every sector of the casino gaming industry have felt the repercussions of the government-mandated property closures across the United States,” said Casey Clark, senior vice president of strategic communications for the Washington D.C.-based AGA. On the same day, the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus sent a bipartisan letter to the House leadership urging the protection of travel and tourism industry jobs in any long-term coronavirus recovery bill. In the letter, which was signed by caucus co-chairs Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and 50 fellow House members, representatives said they were “concerned about the communities and businesses that have been devastated by the total shutdown of the tourism economy as restaurants, resorts, museums, cultural centers, parks, airlines and more have closed or been significantly impacted by the spread of COVID-19.” Titus and Bilirakis said one out of every 10 jobs in the country is tied to the travel and tourism industry. The representatives said the U.S. Travel Association estimated that 4.6 million jobs and $355 billion in revenue will be lost this year in the travel and tourism industry. The AGA said 438 commercial casinos and 196 tribal casinos have shut down over the last five days due to the outbreak. In a fact sheet, AGA leaders said if the 635 casinos stay closed for the next eight weeks, it will cost the U.S. economy $21.3 billion. Nevada’s entire congressional delegation – Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, along with Representatives Dina Titus, Mark Amodei, Steven Horsford, and Susie Lee – signed a separate letter advocating for the state’s gaming and tourism industry to be included in any federal stimulus package, which could reach $1 trillion. The state’s casino industry, which produced almost $25 billion in combined gaming and non-gaming revenue in fiscal 2019, was sidelined Tuesday night when Governor Steve Sisolak ordered all casinos and resorts in the state close for 30-days in order to halt the spread of the fast-moving pandemic. “We are very proud that Nevada’s tourism businesses’ top priority is ensuring that visitors and community members feel safe,” the state’s congressional delegation said in the letter. “Many of them have taken unprecedented action to voluntarily close their doors, losing out in millions in revenue in gaming, hotel stays, airline and other travel, restaurants, live entertainment, and sporting events,” the members wrote. “As a result of this action, workers face mounting financial, physical and emotional distress including reduced hours, layoffs, social distancing, and quarantines. The Nevada delegation – five Democrats and one Republican – said, “Congress needs to work together in a bipartisan way to ease the economic uncertainty for both working families and businesses.” AGA CEO Bill Miller called Nevada “the epicenter of the resilient American gaming industry,” following Sisolak’s announcement. “The federal government must act swiftly to bring relief to our friends, neighbors, and colleagues in Nevada and all across America whose livelihoods have been severely impacted by these hard but necessary actions,” Miller said. The AGA has been working in partnership with hospitality sector colleagues in lobbying Congress and the White House to help shape the shape stimulus and aid packages. On Tuesday, outgoing MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren was among the tourism industry executives who met with President Donald Trump to discuss the stimulus package. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.