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Rosen Says 'Antiquated' Language Bars Gaming Companies From Aid

Associated Press

Sen. Jacky Rosen says outdated regulations prevent Nevada businesses from accessing federal coronavirus relief funds.

Rosen, a first-term Democrat, told State of Nevada that COVID-19 legislation was meant “for everyone who is hurt by this pandemic.”

Instead, rules governing Small Business Administration assistance limit the amount of income a company can receive from gambling and still be eligible. Rosen said the government was relying on old regulatory language to create today’s rules.

These restrictions “were put in decades ago and might have reflected the spirit of the times,” Rosen said, but “they’re out of date. They’re antiquated.”

The original restrictions said no more than a third of income could come from gaming. That was raised to half, but Rosen said that was not good enough. 

"It is wrong. The SBA and Treasury are picking winners and losers," she said, "The lifeblood of Nevada is within our gaming."

She noted that not just large resorts on the Strip depend on gaming revenue but so do convenience stores, bars and restaurants. She said she would fight tooth and nail to get the restrictions lifted, and if they're not, future legislation will make it clear that all businesses are eligible for aid.

"If it's a small business and you can't get any paycheck protection relief, you can't apply for any of the other kinds of loans, depending on what type of business you have, then you're going to lose your business," she said, "You can't keep employees on."

She said Nevada will be hurt disproportionally than other states if the rules are not fixed, but she did point out that other states have gaming and will also be impacted by the rules. 

Funding for the small business loans ran out quickly and the senator admits more money is needed.

"We need to probably put more funding into it," she said, "We didn't realize initially how much we would need to do this to keep people on the payroll as opposed to having workers furloughed and going on unemployment."

Rosen, who serves on the Small Business Committee, said she has put coronavirus resources for business and individuals on her website. She encourages anyone having difficulty to email her office for help. 

Sen. Jacky Rosen, Democrat, serves on Small Business Committee

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With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.