The Nevada unemployment system isn’t effectively able to meet current demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic, causing statewide frustration among the tens of thousands of Nevadans who find themselves out of work.
Adding to the potential pool of filers are professional gamblers who can’t access their worksites, as casinos remain closed throughout Nevada until at least April 30. The Las Vegas Review-Journal says poker pro Chris Konvalinka is seeking benefits.
“We’ll see. I’m going to give it a shot,” Konvalinka said. “It seems like a freeroll to me. Worst case, they say no.”
The unprecedented situation of the coronavirus health crisis has enabled certain workers who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for unemployment benefits to seek compensation. They include gig workers, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals who typically file 1099 tax forms.
Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) spokesperson Rosa Mendez said, “During this unprecedented time and under the CARES Act,” that professional gamblers might qualify for assistance.
Don’t Bet on It
As Casino.org reported earlier this week, the Nevada unemployment system is only adding to the coronavirus nightmare for Silver State residents out of work. The state has received 170,596 new unemployment filings over the past three weeks. In 2019, a total of 119,232 initial claims were filed during the entire year.
“I’m aware of the frustration. I hear the anecdotal stories,” said Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). “I know for every person, if you’re the one that can’t get through, it’s a big issue for you. We do not have the structure in place, I can assure you of this, to process this kind of this volume.”
Nevadans’ are fed up.
WOW!!! We’ve waived the seven-day wait period and instituted the eternal wait period,” said one Casino.org reader.
“It’s totally impossible to get through to unemployment and we all have bills to pay. I applied three weeks ago. I lost my job. I can’t get through to the office. Try every day. All day. If you do get through, it constantly tells you the cue is full,” said Nevadan Deborah Cimino.
She continued, “When are they going to FIX THIS ISSUE? I HAVE NO MONEY FOR MY BILLS OR FOOD OR RENT. LET’S GO NEVADA OFFICIALS. GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER AND GET US OUR MONEY!!!”
John Kim added, “Let Sisolak and DETR be without income and wait for their unemployment checks.”
Do Gamblers Qualify?
The CARES Act, signed by President Donald Trump March 27, extends unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals.
The stimulus package says that an independent contractor who “is otherwise able to work and available for work … except the individual is unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency” qualifies as a “covered individual.”
However, the legislation excludes those who have the capability to work remotely. For Konvalinka, that could pose problems, as Nevada has legal online poker.
According to The Hendon Mob, Konvalinka has total live earnings of just $1,690 – all of which came at last November’s $400 No Limit Hold’em Double Stack Extravaganza at The Venetian Las Vegas.