Updated October 27, 2020 - 5:39 pm
Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto promises that securing pandemic relief for small businesses within the gaming industry will be a priority once the election is over and that the casino industry won’t be excluded from any relief packages that win approval.
Cortez Masto, D-Nev., kicked off the virtual version Tuesday of the Global Gaming Expo. G2E, one of the most anticipated trade shows of the year because it deals with all forms of gaming, went virtual for the first time in its history because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Normally, G2E occurs every fall, and about 27,000 people attend, including casino executives and equipment manufacturers.
Cortez Masto said she has introduced bipartisan legislation with Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., to provide relief and recovery packages for the convention, trade show, entertainment and travel industries.
Ninety percent of casinos have reopened nationwide, but they are operating at restricted levels to try to slow the spread of the virus, and additional federal funding is needed for casinos and their workers, according to the American Gaming Association.
The Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2020 would provide new recovery incentives, including retaining a tax credit to help provide recovery incentives for middle-class families to jump-start travel when safe. The legislation would establish a tax credit for the cost of attending or hosting a convention, business meeting or trade show in the United States between Jan. 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2023.
Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association, applauded the efforts of Cortez Masto and Cramer.
“While Nevada’s resort industry continues to do all it can to recover as quickly as possible and bring Nevadans safely back to work, the road back to economic normalcy is expected to take years,” Valentine said. “The bipartisan Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act will help expedite recovery and provide immediate relief to struggling Nevada families and businesses that depend on the meetings and conventions and the travel and tourism industries.”
American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller said the gaming industry is resilient and must bounce back from casino closures from the COVID-19 crisis and the billions of dollars in lost revenue throughout most of 2020.
“We have built this support over many decades,” Miller said. “As gaming has grown from two states in 1978 to 44 states today, more and more Americans have gotten to know us. … They recognize the positive impact we deliver: The jobs we support; the small businesses we sustain; and the tax revenue we contribute … these are the reasons Americans have embraced gaming, and they will fuel gaming’s recovery.”
Miller called Cortez Masto “a gaming industry champion” for persuading the Small Business Industry to include the gaming industry in CARES Act recovery benefits earlier this year. Cortez Masto said it was a unified effort by the entire Nevada congressional delegation to get that done.
The legislation introduced by Cortez Masto and Cramer would also:
-Adjust the Employee Retention Tax Credit.
-Restore the Entertainment Business Expense Deduction by repealing the changes made by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
-Support the restaurant industry by establishing a tax credit for restaurants or food service businesses, covering any cost associated with reopening or increasing service at an establishment forced to close down or reduce operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic—including any renovation, remediation, testing, or labor cost needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The credit would be effective between the date of enactment and Dec. 31, 2022.
-Provide a modest tax credit for qualified travel expenses for many Americans.