WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) released the following statement in response to news that the U.S. Treasury Department has decided to allow all gaming small businesses to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Until now, only gaming small businesses who derived less than one-third — and later less than one half with a $1 million cap — of their revenue from gaming could participate.

“Nevada’s gaming small business community is a vital part of our state’s economy, and they deserve the same access to federal aid as any other legal business,” said the Senators. “We are glad to see that our calls for reform were answered and this much-needed step is being taken to provide gaming small businesses in Nevada and across the country access to financial support and aid during this difficult time. We will continue working to protect the health and economic well-being of our state.”

BACKGROUND: While small businesses in the gaming industry support more than 350,000 jobs in the United States, guidance released by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Treasury several weeks ago excluded any small business that derives more than one-third — later revised to more than one-half with a $1 million cap — of their revenue from legal gaming activities from participation in PPP. This is despite the fact that, in Section 1102 of the CARES Act, the legislation explicitly states that “in addition to small business concerns, any business concern, nonprofit organization, veterans organization, or Tribal business concern described in section 31(b)(2)(C) shall be eligible to receive a covered loan” if the business has 500 or fewer employees.

Last week, Senators Rosen and Cortez Masto announced that they will be introducing the Equal Access to COVID-19 Relief Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would allow legal gaming small businesses full access to SBA loan and grant programs created by the CARES Act and prior coronavirus relief legislation. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Senator Rosen also joined the Nevada delegation in Senator Cortez Masto’s letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell calling on them to expand the eligibility of hotels, casinos, and live entertainment businesses to access critical loan programs and economic stabilization assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Earlier this month, Senator Rosen led the Nevada delegation in a bipartisan letter urging Congressional leadership to include gaming small businesses in Nevada and across the country in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

Rosen also led a group of Senators, including Senator Cortez Masto, in a letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza asking her agency to allow all gaming small businesses to access PPP loans, in line the with the Congressional intent of the CARES Act.

Both Senators Rosen and Cortez Masto voted in support of the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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