In a letter sent to every member of the Congress, US casinos are asking for legislation that will fight the spreading of the Zika virus. According to the American Gaming Association and over 100 organisations, the virus not only “jeopardises” health, but also the economy.
The letter points out that the virus, mostly spread by mosquitos is threatening economic activity as well as jobs related to gaming and other travel industries. Moreover, it asked legislators to provide funding to fight Zika in country parts that rely on tourism. Namely, Congress must act quickly because the growing number of Zika virus infected individuals can have a lot of negative effects on the US economy.
As was revealed by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, current funding for fighting the virus would be spent by the end of September. Congressional staffers have stated that both political parties consider funding to fight Zika a top priority. However, after months of negotiations and a push to resolve differences the issue has become a political football with one side blaming the other for “derailing” proposed bills, and the other side refusing to accept earmarks or revisions such as defunding women’s health care services in Peurto Rico.
The vice president of government affairs at the AGA, Whit Askew, wrote in a statement that such funding would “ramp up local responses” to the serious threat, boost research on the topic and help development on vaccines. Additionally, he mentioned the necessity for coming up with advanced approaches to mosquito control.
In the United States, the casino gaming industry is worth about $240 billion and is responsible creating and maintaining about 1.7 million jobs. The casinos in 40 states generate approximately $38 billion in tax revenue. Overall, the travel industry generates more than $2 trillion in economic output.
This industry is represented by the national trade group American Gaming Association, whose members are tribal casino operators, commercial casino owners, suppliers and other companies related to the gaming industry.