Attorney General Fox Urging Federal Government to Include Businesses with Gambling Revenue in Pandemic Relief

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Attorney General Fox Urging Federal Government to Include Businesses with Gambling Revenue in Pandemic Relief

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox is urging the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to modify hastily adopted rules that excluded more than 1,000 Montana small businesses from relief under the Paycheck Protection Program in the recently enacted federal CARES Act.

Fox, whose agency regulates legal gambling licensees in Montana, has been in conversation with the White House as well as regional and national SBA leaders urging them to modify rules that currently exclude from the Paycheck Protection Program any business that earns more than one-third of its revenue from gaming. The Paycheck Protection Program has approximately $350 billion in loans available for businesses impacted by COVID-19 closures. The loans would enable the businesses to continue paying their employees during the shutdown.

There are currently 1,324 licensed gambling operators in the State of Montana. They have been closed and their approximately 15,000 employees unable to work since the governor’s closure order in March.

“I have also been advised that large Nevada casinos were able to secure rulemaking that made their businesses in Nevada eligible for CARES Act relief programs,” Fox told the White House and SBA. “Please confirm if this is true. If it is true, I am sure that the SBA will understand widespread belief that creating such a disparity in the rules to favor large casinos over small main-street businesses is both unfair and unconscionable during these trying times.”

“I am deeply concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on all of America, and particularly the Montana small businesses that dutifully complied with our governor’s closure order,” Fox added. “Restaurants, bars, taverns, and casinos are the economic foundation of many communities in our state. They not only contribute substantially to our economy, but they also meaningfully contribute to their communities in additional ways.”

In addition to multiple conversations, Fox sent a letter on April 3 outlining his concerns. It is available online: https://dojmt.gov/wp-content/uploads/AG-to-SBA-04032020.pdf

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