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City Governments Reeling As Tax Revenue Declines From Casino Shutdowns

Pair Of Southern California Locales Losing Millions In Tax Revenue With Local Cardrooms Closed For Business


Local governments are starting to feel the economic pain of having businesses shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemics as tax revenue is starting to dry up.

Certain locales in the Los Angeles area are heavily reliant on local cardrooms for its tax revenue. With casinos nationwide shutdown, those cities are having a tough time recouping revenue that it has been used to for some time.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Hawaiian Gardens is one of those cities facing that problem with almost 70 percent of the city’s general fund coming from taxes and fees from The Gardens Casino.

The casino has been closed for nearly a month and the city is already short $1.5 million in tax revenue. The casino is relied upon for 70 percent of the city’s general fund.

It is being reported that the government will be forced to layoff workers, dip into reserve funds, and cut certain programs in order to continue operations.

The Bicycle Hotel & Casino, home to a Card Player Poker Tour event every October, is also the main source of tax revenue for the city of Bell Gardens. City officials have estimated that if the closure extends through the end of the month, the government will lose out on $2 million in revenue.

Last week, the American Gaming Association penned a letter to President Trump asking him to tweak federal requirements to the Paycheck Protection Program so that ultimately, gaming establishments could receive loan assistance.

Around the same time as the AGA’s letter to Trump, the California Gaming Association sent a letter to congressional leaders in The Golden State making a similar request.

“Without the help of PPP funding, California’s gaming operators, all of which voluntarily ceased operations in mid-March, will be forced to permanently lay off employees and some may not be able to reopen,” wrote CGA President Kyle Kirkland.

Hawaiian Gardens Mayor Jesse Alvarado wrote a letter of his own to Gov. Gavin Newsom. Alvarado asked Newsom to use part of the $97 million surpluses in the California gambling control fund to help The Gardens Casino re-open when the government deems it safe to gamble again, as well as other relief from the state.

Bell Gardens Mayor Alejandra Cortez also wrote to Gov. Newsom asking for assistance as well. She referred to the casino as “vital to the service provided to the residents who live in the city of Bell Gardens.”