Mississippi Casino Revenue Suffers As Gamblers Head To Gulf Coast
By Bob Garcia
July was a slow month for casinos in Mississippi as gamblers took their money over to play poker at the gambling halls on the Gulf Coast. The region split, causing casino revenues in the state to fall flat. The Mississippi State Revenue Department released figures this week showing that revenues were lower in July this year compared to July 2015.
All 16 of the Mississippi River casinos took a hit in July, dropping an average of three percent from the same month the previous year. The losses add up to $84 million in revenue – an amount experts say will be hard for the state’s gambling industry to recover from.
This marks a long-running trend in the region as revenue has fallen in Mississippi in 41 of the past 48 months. State casino operators are blaming the losses on the newly-opened casino resorts on the Gulf Coast, such as the Scarlet Pearl Casino in D’iberville with its Big Slicks Poker Room, that opened in December. While Mississippi River casinos struggle, the Scarlet Pearl and other coast casinos report that revenues are up $28 million ahead of last year’s totals.
All together, the 12 Gulf Coast casinos reportedly collected $105 million in July. Though it marks just a one percent increase from the same month the previous year, it is part of a 20-month trend, marking the 20th monthly increase over a 24 month period.
It would be interesting to contrast these reports with changes in revenue at Mississippi’s tribal casinos. These numbers are not included in reports by the State Revenue Department because the Choctaw Indian casinos do not report their revenue to the state.