On Election Day 2020, ballot initiatives in several states asked voters if they support expanded gaming in their communities, and voters responded with a resounding “yes.” Americans at the ballot box in Colorado, Nebraska and Virginia expanded casino gaming while Louisiana, Maryland and South Dakota legalized sports betting.
World-class casino entertainment is legal in 44 states and the protections of the legal, regulated sports betting market are available to more than 45 percent of American adults. As a result, more Americans than ever will have access to the economic opportunity the gaming industry provides through job creation and partnerships with small businesses. State and local governments will also be able to use the ensuing tax dollars to support public education, vital infrastructure projects, and other essential programs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the national election now in the rearview, the American Gaming Association (AGA) will continue our 25-year history of working across party lines to show policymakers our industry’s commitment to responsibility, highlight our outsized community impact, and advocate for policies that advance gaming’s priorities. This means building new champions in the 117th Congress, expanding our work with the bipartisan Congressional Gaming Caucus, and continuing to engage the Biden administration.
We look forward to continuing to work with members on both sides of the aisle to address overly burdensome and unnecessary regulations and taxes, as well as reducing illegal gambling operations that continue to pose a risk to the American public and the economic success of our industry.
However, urgent action is needed now to provide additional Covid-19 relief to the gaming industry. The AGA is working on a daily basis to urge leaders in Congress and the Trump administration to advance legislation that aids employee rehiring and retention, bolsters liability protections for responsible operators, supports tribal nations, and kick-starts travel and tourism.
We’ve already seen what we can accomplish when our industry unites with a common purpose. Our inclusion in the CARES act, which bolstered the industry and saved countless gaming jobs, was a stark departure from pre-Covid federal economic relief efforts that intentionally discriminated against gaming companies. And more recently, gaming champions in Congress have advanced legislation addressing key priorities with a House bill to eliminate the federal excise and head taxes on sports betting operators and a Senate bill that will aid the return of tourism, meetings and conventions.
There has never been a more important time for the gaming industry to speak with a unified voice and common purpose. The AGA will continue to bring our industry together to work with policymakers, regulators and all relevant stakeholders as we navigate gaming’s recovery—a recovery that is vital to communities across our nation.