Business Report: COVID-19 relief bill, unemployment claims, gaming revenue, GameStop hearing

Update on the proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that's being worked on in Congress

Sen. Bob Menendez is promising that help is on the way for New Jersey’s residents and small businesses. He delivered an update Thursday on the proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill being worked on in Congress. He called the plan to send eligible taxpayers a $1,400 stimulus check a lifeline for families. At a press conference earlier Thursday, several residents shared their stories of how the pandemic has impacted them and their finances.

The continuing economic fallout from the pandemic is reflected in disappointing weekly data on unemployment claims across the U.S. The number of first-time filings rose to 861,000 — the highest level in a month, and worse than economists forecast.

Gaming revenue at Atlantic City’s casinos rose more than 9% in January, thanks to internet gaming and online sports betting. The casinos are still struggling with in-person betting; revenues from table games and slot machines fell again. A new analysis from Stockton University’s LIGHT Institute shows that decline is consistent with what casinos in other states are experiencing.

On Capitol Hill Thursday, lawmakers examined the buying frenzy in shares of video game retailer GameStop last month. In the hot seat was Vlad Tenev, CEO of the online brokerage Robinhood. He had to explain why Robinhood halted GameStop trading for a time, frustrating small investors.

WATCH: Business Report: Gateway Project, Camden transportation center, green economy, PPE discounts

MORE: Business Report: Green jobs, Trump Plaza casino, remote work