Mississippi’s casinos see huge August losses, reopen after Hurricane Sally scare
By Bob Garcia
The month-over-month performance in the state shows a major slip in revenue
After the threat imposed by Hurricane Sally blowing through town, Mississippi’s Gulf Coast casinos are back in business. The COVID-19 debacle already ravaged the state’s finances, and the hurricane was expected to bring even more damage. The Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) announced yesterday that it has granted authorization for the 12 Gulf Coast casinos to restart gaming operations as of 1 PM given that the hurricane landed east of the state, so there is no more danger for customers. However, right between the reopening following the coronavirus shutdown and another closure because of the hurricane, August tried to give the state a boost, but failed.
Among all gambling venues in the Magnolia State, there were some, like the Palace Casino Resort in Biloxi, that reported flooding in its parking deck as a result of the hurricane. Also, two dormant riverboat casinos in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, ended up floating free on Tuesday while Sally was moving on to another region. This season of heavy weather impact for the region has left a hole in the revenue, according to MGC’s latest figures. These problems are certainly going to exacerbate financial issues raging since the first quarter of the year and entering into the second quarter.
On August, 26 commercial casinos generated combined revenue of $179.4 million. That’s nearly $7.5 million better than August 2019; however, it is a significant reduction compared to July’s revenue, which was reported at $195 million. While it’s too early for the September report, it’s likely the month won’t be much better.
All three regions with casino facilities reported declines on their month-to-month figures, but the biggest hit was suffered in the Coastal region. August’s figures were $9.5 million less than what was reported in July. For the year-to-date numbers, a total of $1.08 billion was reported during the first eight months of the year, and, in 2019, those same eight months left $1.47 billion. These figures also reflect the months in which the pandemic forced closed virtually every gambling venue in the country.