In 2020, President Trump signed the stimulus bill into law. It allowed the release of $900 billion to Americans affected most by the pandemic. In 2021, President Biden expanded the bill and unveiled the American Rescue Plan. It was the largest pandemic relief plan amounting to $1.9 trillion.
The bill was expanded in 2022 to include Child Tax Credit. US poker dealers were one of the groups that were most hit by the pandemic. Casinos closed, and the dealers stayed for months without employment. Some are already back to work, but many of them need financial assistance.
Poker dealers struggled during the pandemic
At the height of the pandemic, casinos across the U.S. were closed. For instance, Governor Murphy of New Jersey ordered all land-based casinos to shut down indefinitely. Throughout the shutdown period, all nine casinos in Atlantic City did not operate. The only sector that did not close was the NJ online casino to serve players interested in betting.
Profits dropped by over 80% due to the shutdowns. Regardless, poker dealers in the state still had bills to pay and family to feed, just like everyone else. To date, many of them are yet to recover from their financial gaps.
Laying off of casino workers
Casinos recorded the highest number of layoffs in the U.S., including poker dealers. Ronnie Rodriguez was one of the dealers working at Harrah’s in Nevada. The casino’s card room closed on March 15, 2020, and he was laid off.
What has helped him since then is the $1,200 he received from the government stimulus plan. The recently passed $2 trillion stimulation package includes a $600 weekly benefit for those without jobs. A lot of poker dealers benefit from this package. Many poker dealers are enrolled in 401 (k) insurance, but they can only benefit from the money after retirement.
Dealers receive hourly pay
Poker dealers are hourly workers, and sometimes they receive tips. According to law, the dealers qualify for unemployment and the $600 weekly benefit. Some employers may fail to report the total tips received, and the dealer loses from the benefit. In a few weeks, a lot of Americans will get a $1,200 check paid by the federal government. Poker dealers will receive settlements provided they meet specific requirements.
They must have done their tax returns for 2018 and 2019 to qualify. Based on employment law in the US, if their income bracket is above $99k or $150k for married partners, they are not eligible for the stimulus. It is not known when the checks will be released, but it should be in a few weeks. The package, however, is time-bound and will diminish once the situation normalizes.