US Senate Passes American Rescue Plan with Help for Casinos

The United States Senate

The US Senate recently passed the American Rescue Plan which would direct relief to the casino industry, including help for employees displayed during the pandemic.

Over the weekend, the United States Senate was in session, working to pass the American Rescue Plan. The COVID-19 relief package will offer $1.9 trillion in relief with help for the entire nation. For Nevada, the state is expected to receive direct aid and additional measures are located in the package that will provide help for individuals who work in the gaming and hospitality industry.

More Consideration Needed

While the bill was approved in the Senate, changes were made. So now, the House must reconsider the measure and approve the changes. The bill should be considered this week and then if approved, it will move on to the desk of President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

With the measure, the US will receive $350 billion, dispersed among the states, as well as local and county governments. Stimulus checks will also be provided to citizens in $1,400 amounts. While relief is needed, additional items were in the bill, such as raising the minimum wage to $15 and providing an unemployment benefit extension of $400 per person. These two elements were removed from the measure.

The Senate decided to add a $300 weekly unemployment benefit that will last through Labor Day. This extra benefit will help millions of people, including the casino workers in Nevada who have been laid off or furloughed due to lower tourism levels at casinos and hotels.

The state’s Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation has reported lower job totals over the past few months. Back in December, the casino hotel job total was down over 23% from the previous year. The leisure and hospitality sector saw a decline of more than 49,000 positions in December.

With the plan, employees will receive extra unemployment benefits as well as a subsidy to cover health insurance premiums. Senator Jacky Rosen of Nevada, commented on the package, stating that it will help make good on a promise to provide direct payments to Americans in need, with Nevadans provided funds to cover basic needs including insurance premium coverage after facing job loss at no fault of their own.

Helping Tourism Sectors

In the United States, every individual state was affected differently by the pandemic, be it the economy, health related, or job related. However, in most states, job loss was prevalent. Yet, some states were hit harder than others, like Nevada.

In the Silver State, the main economic driver is entertainment and hospitality. From casinos to dining, events and conventions, the state relies on tourism to bring in revenues. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, casinos were shut down for a few months. After reopening, the venues were only able to provide certain services at a limited capacity.

With limited services, this led to a layoff and furlough of tens of thousands of employees. While some have been called back, many have not. This is why relief is needed. In this measure, there was another change by the Senate that will benefit Nevada greatly.

A total of $750 million in additional aid will be provided across the nation to areas where tourism and travel industries were affected. The House’s version provided only $450 million of such assistance. This money will help the state to recover somewhat from the pandemic.

Now, the only thing Nevada and the rest of the US has to do is wait. Hopefully, movement will take place involving the measure this week and it will be signed into law. Millions of people are counting on the help from the package to try and make ends meet while the nation still tries to find a way grapple with the ongoing pandemic.

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