Casinos Call on Congress to Fund Efforts to Fight Zika

Spreading virus poses threat to regions dependent on tourism, says AGA in letter to federal legislators

Press Release | 09.12.2016

Washington, DC – Casinos are calling on Congress to pass legislation to fight the Zika virus that threatens economic activity and jobs tied to the gaming and broader travel industries. In a letter to every member of Congress, the American Gaming Association and more than 100 organizations implored legislators to provide necessary funding to address the Zika virus in parts of the country that depend on a tourism economy.

READ THE FULL LETTER

“A failure by Congress to act quickly jeopardizes not only health but the U.S. economy,” wrote Whit Askew, vice president of government affairs. “The number of individuals with the Zika virus has grown and there have been multiple instances of local transmission.”

As Congress reconvenes this month, members of both parties say funding for efforts to fight Zika are a top priority before adjourning ahead of Election Day. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, existing funding for fighting Zika will run out at the end of September.

“Funding for Zika efforts will ramp up local responses to the growing threat, support an acceleration of research and development on vaccines as well as advanced approaches to mosquito control,” wrote Askew.

Casino gaming is a $240 billion industry that supports 1.7 million jobs and generates $38 billion in tax revenue across 40 states. More broadly, the nation’s travel industry generates $2.1 trillion in economic output, is an economic engine driving job creation across the United States and is a top 10 employer in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry. It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a path for growth, innovation and reinvestment.