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Rule change lets Illinois gambling cafes qualify for federal loan

Rule change lets Illinois gambling cafes qualify for federal loan

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The Ruby's gambling establishments in Illinois are now eligible for a federal loan after all.

As I mentioned in a column about St. Louis area companies that were frustrated by their experience with the government's Paycheck Protection Program, Ruby's was barred from the first round of PPP loans because more than half of its revenue comes from gambling.

The Small Business Administration changed that rule last week, declaring that "a business that is otherwise eligible for a PPP Loan is not rendered ineligible due to its receipt of legal gaming revenues."

Keith Rentschler, a Ruby's co-owner, said his business should qualify under the revised rule. The 20 Ruby's cafes serve drinks, snacks and simple meals, but video gambling machines are their main draw.

Rentschler also said US Bank has fixed a glitch that prevented him from submitting an application for the first round of PPP funding. Ruby's has three co-owners, and the bank's online form only had space to list two owners.

With those two roadblocks out of the way, Rentschler said his application has been submitted. Banks started processing applications Monday for a second round of $310 billion in forgivable loans.

The Ruby's chain is based in Edwardsville and includes eight Metro East locations. The cafes' 150 employees have been furloughed but will be brought back if the loan is approved, Rentschler said.

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