The American gaming industry has recovered immensely since the darkest days of covid lockdown brought shocking images of a deserted Las Vegas Strip to the world. Last week, the industry came one step closer to a full recovery with the Biden administration’s decision to lift pre-travel covid testing for international travelers.
The decision to lift covid travel was welcomed by the many business interests who lobbied the administration and would benefit from an influx of international travelers, including the American Gaming Association (AGA). AGA President and CEO Bill Miller praised the decision in a recent press release saying, “By welcoming back international business and leisure travelers, the American gaming industry and our nation’s hospitality sector can fully recover. This move puts the United States on equal footing with other countries and will provide a major boost to our nation’s travel and hospitality industries.”
While Miller praised the decision, he also suggested that more could be done to help the industry recover from covid saying, “At the same time, we must not forget that more can still be done to return tourism to pre-pandemic levels. We ask the State Department to continue their work to speed up international visa processing time by investing in additional staff and allowing virtual interviews. Eliminating the testing requirement will undoubtedly open our doors to more international visitors and we should make the process for entry as efficient and accessible as possible.”
It should be noted that the US gaming industry is actually pretty good shape and in April had its best month ever with nearly $5 billion in revenue. But in-person gaming is still not back to pre-covid levels and a lack of international travelers is mostly responsible for that. So while CEO’s and shareholders are doing well, casino workers, hotel workers, and the constellation of businesses they support, could definitely benefit from from an influx of international travelers.