Poker dealers at every casino in the United States have been furloughed or given up in recent weeks because of the novel coronavirus pandemic Recently unemployed, the thousands of dealers around the country now seeking for unemployment insurance to stay afloat monetarily for the time being.
The live poker scene is currently on a bit of a hiatus, and it could be a while — potentially months — before players can return to their local card rooms. That means many workers in our industry are now out of a job.
We certainly hope they’re back to work shortly, many poker dealers need immediate financial assistance. Like anyone else, they have bills to pay and, in many cases, kids to feed.
Ronnie Rodriguez, a dealer at Harrah’s in Las Vegas who was laid off March 15 due to COVID-19 forcing the card room’s closure. He has since applied for and received his standard unemployment benefits.
Ronnie Rodriguez, a Bartender at Harrah’s in Las Vegas who was laid off March 15 because of COVID-19 forcing the card room’s closure. Yet he will certainly likewise receive a $1,200 repayment as part of the lately passed $2 trillion government stimulation plan. Part of that stimulus bundle consisted of a $600 additional weekly benefit for those receiving joblessness. Most poker dealers are eligible to get this benefit.
The issue for dealers when it comes to unemployment is that, in most cases, they are paid a low hourly wage and work mostly for tips. According to CNBC, some dealers may receive a small unemployment benefit.
“Workers who derive a big chunk of their paychecks from tips, like waiters and bartenders, may get smaller unemployment checks than they hope to,” the article states.
Some poker dealers may lose out on part of their expected unemployment benefit if their employer doesn’t report or under-reports tips earned. So, yes, dealers are eligible for unemployment, including the additional weekly benefit, but the accuracy of the tips reported will impact the amount they receive.
What About Government Stimulus Checks?
Within the next couple of weeks, countless Americans will receive a $1,200 check from the federal government ($ 2,400 for couples and $500 added for dependents). However, not everybody will obtain this money that was created to assist citizens pay for expenses during the global health crisis.
Poker dealers should receive settlements, so long as they meet specific needs, just like everybody else. Specifically, dealers need to have submitted tax obligations in 2018 or 2019 to be qualified. If their income exceeds $99K ($ 150K for a married couple), they won’t get a check.
A specific date on which recipients can expect to receive the funds is unknown right now, yet a lot of professionals expect those with checking account on file with the IRS to have the cash within a couple weeks. It might take much longer for everybody else to see the money as the federal government will be cutting paper checks for them.
Once this health situation diminishes, the government will no longer be able to bail its citizens out financially. That implies poker dealers, will require to get back to work quickly. Rodriguez is concerned that several of his fellow Harrah’s poker room employees may struggle to get by when they return to work.
“If business demands are slow, they will have full-timers work five days and schedule everyone else one or two days per week,” he said. “The only problem with that is, there are only six, full-time dealers at Harrah’s. So, everyone else will not be making money.”