Casinos news

Mississippi Casinos Continue to Experience Gaming Drops

A rebound in the gaming revenues in Mississippi only lasted for a month. Mississippi's state-licensed casino facilities posted November revenues of $185.4 million, the lowest gaming revenue figure since September 2005 when a dozen coastal casino facilities were close down after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area.

The November gaming figures, released on December 22nd, 2009 by the Mississippi State Tax Commission, represented an $8.1 million drop from October 2009 and $1 million down from September 2009, the previous low at $186.4 million. Since January, the casino facilities have earned a total of $2.27 billion, compared to the $2.1 billion figure from January to November 2008.

In November, casino facilities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast showed a slight improvement from October, winning a total of $87.2 million, up from $86.3 million. Casino facilities along the Mississippi River-including Natchez, Vicksburg and Tunica-won a total of $99.2 million last month, down from $107.2 million in October 2009.

In November 2008, gaming revenue totaled $205.3 million -$96.2 million from the coastal casino facilities and $109 million from casinos located along the river. State gaming regulators said that comparing last month's gaming revenue to November 2008, the slide was under ten percent.

Allen Godfrey, the deputy director of the state Gaming Commission, said on December 22nd, 2009 that the gaming trend shows that the number of players visiting the casino facilities has not dropped but the amount of money that they are spending has. Godfrey said that players do not have the gaming budget that they have two years ago.

Godfrey said that a few years back, regulators could immediately tell which months are better and which months are historically down. Similar gaming revenue drops have been reported throughout the past year in other states that hosts casinos such as Louisiana, New Jersey, Nevada and Illinois.

In Louisiana, the thirteen riverboat casinos, Harrah's Entertainment Incorporated's downtown New Orleans casino and the four racing track casinos earned a total of $179 million in November 2009, down from $214.9 million in November 2008. Harrah's central division president, John Payne, said during a meeting last month of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board that 2010 will likely follow the gaming trends of 2009 before a recovery in 2011 and 2012 happens.

But Godfrey said that investors continue to show considerable interest in Mississippi. Casino "win" is the net amount of the money won from players and is not considered profit. The gross earnings figure represents casino revenue only-separate from bar, restaurant, and hotel revenues earned by the resorts.

The figures also do not include tribal-owned casinos, which are not compelled to report their winnings to the public. Tax collections from the gaming industry are tracked on the state's fiscal year, which runs from July 1st to June 30th.

Casino tax collection for the month of November totaled $23.9 million compared to the $21.1 million in October. The state of Mississippi collected $118.9 million in the first five months of this fiscal year.


02/14/2010 11:42 PM
Ann Pettersson