Tag Archives: COVID-19

Small Business Administration Updates Interim Regulatory Guidelines to Greatly Expand Accessibility of Paycheck Protection Program Loans to Gaming Businesses

On April 24, 2020, the casino industry received some much-needed good news from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Specifically, the SBA issued revised regulatory guidelines for the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that now make PPP loans available to small gaming businesses previously precluded from the program because of restrictions on gambling-based revenue, but otherwise met the eligibility requirements.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Governor Returns Virginia Gambling Legislation with Amendments, Including Tax for COVID-19 Fund

In a  March 17 Alert, we reported that Virginia’s General Assembly had sent Governor Ralph Northam two bills (Senate Bill 36 and House Bill 896), which, if signed, would permit five land-based casinos, online sports betting and up to 2,000 additional historical horse racing machines in the commonwealth. On the April 11 deadline to take action on the bills, Governor Northam returned them, each unsigned, to the Virginia legislature with amendments. While the governor’s proposed changes to the two bills appear minor (for example, they did not change tax rates, minimum capital expenditure requirements or the types of games), a new proposal would further expand gaming in Virginia, at least temporarily, by permitting and taxing skill-based machines in bars, convenience stores and truck stops to raise money for a COVID-19 relief fund.

Update: On April 22, 2020, both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly approved Governor Northam’s amendments to the casino and sports betting bills, thus effectively making both bills Virginia law.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Small Business Administration Updates Interim Regulatory Guidelines to Help Certain Gaming Companies

On April 14, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued revised interim regulatory guidelines for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The revisions provide, in relevant part, that certain companies which derive revenues from legal gaming activities are eligible for PPP loans and are not automatically ineligible as previously thought pursuant to the interim regulatory guidelines released on April 2, 2020, and discussed in our previous Alert.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Interim Regulatory Guidelines Preclude Gaming Businesses from Receiving Support Under the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program

Much of the U.S. casino industry is currently ineligible to benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program portion of the newly enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). As articulated by Congress, under the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program provides loans to any small business, nonprofit organization, veterans’ organization, and/or tribal business as long as the business has less than 500 employees. The Paycheck Protection Program is one of several tools to provide much needed support for small businesses and their employees experiencing economic distress caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

States Shutting Casinos Down to Combat COVID-19

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, casinos and racetracks have become the next domino to fall.  Ohio, Indiana, Massachusetts, Illinois, Rhode Island, and parts of Pennsylvania have been required to shut down their facilities or keep the total number of individuals present under a designated limit.  These announcements came late Friday afternoon after many of the states enforced limiting the number of public gatherings.

Ohio’s four casinos and seven racetracks have been ordered to shut down or limit the total number of people in their buildings, including employees, to under 100.  The order came from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine as part of the state’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.  The Indiana Gaming Board has suspended all casino operations for 14 days beginning Monday, March 16.  The Massachusetts Gaming Commission also has voted to shut down casino operations.  Massachusetts will reevaluate the decision in two weeks, but all gaming floors are set to be closed to patrons at 5:59 a.m. Sunday.  Like Massachusetts, Illinois’ ten casinos will close for at least 14 days, and  Rhode Island’s two casinos are being required to close for at least a week.  Lastly, four of Pennsylvania’s twelve casinos have closed temporarily for 14 days.

States such as New Jersey have not yet shut down, and according to New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy, there is no plan for New Jersey casinos to shut down.  Also, in Las Vegas, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International are temporarily closing to stop the spread of the virus.

Although casinos are closing, online casino gaming will not be affected.  Moreover, online casino gaming can potentially grow during the 14 days shutdown.  In states like New Jersey, where there is no shutdown, many people may stay away from casinos and decide to play online.

Sports wagering has also been affected by COVID-19, and is essentially shut down nationwide with no sports available to bet on.  This comes at a time where states such as Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois have just begun to accept sports wagers.

The casinos that are facing shut down are also taking the initiative to provide for their workers.  Penn National Gaming and Wynn Resorts have stated it plans to continue to pay its employees full wages and benefits while the suspension period is in place.  Penn National has also stated it plans to continue its deep cleaning efforts to prepare to welcome back its customers when the pandemic ends.

We will continue to follow this situation closely and provide any additional updates.

Updated on 3/16/2020.