On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump's administration is instituting a new policy allowing casinos with fewer than 500 employees to apply for Small Business Administration loans.
"For nearly 25 years, companies that made more than one-third of their revenue from gambling were barred from receiving Small Business Administration loans," reported Jonathan O'Connell and Aaron Gregg. "That remained true when the government doled out a $349 billion fund for small businesses, called the Paycheck Protection Program, as part of the $2 trillion economic stimulus package. But following lobbying from the casino industry, new rules issued by President Trump’s administration Friday state that no business is disqualified from receiving PPP loans because of gambling revenue."
The change will also apply to casinos run by Native American tribes.
Officials from both parties in Nevada pressed the administration to make the change, including Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, and Gov. Steve Sisolak, as the state's economy has been hit particularly hard.
But government watchdogs are more skeptical, with Public Citizen's Craig Holman saying, "It’s not what I would consider a socially significant industry. Casino owners have a lot of money in the first place."
"Big-name Las Vegas casino operators such as Las Vegas Sands and Caesars aren’t eligible for PPP funds because their locations typically employ more than 500 people," continued the report. "But the American Gaming Association estimates that more than 6,000 businesses in 30 states could qualify under the new rules."