Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Sid Salter: Casinos Show Record Growth as Pent-up Demand Drives Overflow Crowds

 How ready were gamblers to return to Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos after COVID and the resulting shutdowns?

Big time ready, it would seem. Back in 2007, as the Gulf Coast began to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina, one of the early signs of recovery was when the Coast casinos earned $124.7 million in the month of July.


In April 2021, the Coast casinos earned a cool $151.7 million and kicked a record $31 million into state and local tax coffers. That’s on top of what the state is taking in through the state lottery and from the sports book. 


 The Mississippi  Gulf Coast now ranks as the nation’s fifth largest gaming market at $1.04 billion, supplanting New York City in that position. The Big Apple is now the nation’s eighth largest market, the position Mississippi held in 2019. That’s the ranking from the American Gaming Association’s “State of the States” for 2021.


The state’s Delta (Tunica/Lula) casinos are the 17th largest gaming market at $445 million, according to the AGA annual report. According to AGA, Mississippi produced $213.8 million in gaming tax revenue off of $1.80 billion in gross gaming revenue.


What the future for gaming in Mississippi? Straight from the AGA report is this assessment:


A further competitive threat to Mississippi’s commercial casino gaming industry comes from a potential expansion of gambling in neighboring Alabama. While the Alabama market is already served by electronic bingo devices at tribal casinos, a task force was established by Gov. Kay Ivey (R) in 2020 to study the state’s policy options regarding commercial casinos, expanded tribal gaming, a state lottery and sports wagering. 


“A report by the Alabama Study Group on Gambling was published in December 2020 and was expected to set the stage for discussions in the state legislature during the 2021 session”


The state continues to encounter sports book competition from states with online sports book access. Mississippi still requires bets to be placed by gamblers whose feet are on the casino barges. Mississippi does not allow online sports book betting.


Clearly, the Legislature faces decisions based on competitive concerns over online gaming from the traditional casino gaming interests. And then there is the state lottery, the state’s most accessible gaming opportunity.


The Mississippi Lottery Corporation raised roughly $80 million for infrastructure and $50 million for public education in their first full year of operations. Rep. Alyce G. Clarke’s legacy lives on through the law she authored that stopped gaming revenue from being spent across the state lines.  


Those who opposed the lottery on religious grounds certainly have my respect for their beliefs. But as Mississippians of a certain generation have long witnessed in local option liquor elections, one of Mississippi’s oldest and most reliable political alliances existed between people of faith and people of avarice – the preachers and the bootleggers.


So called “sin taxes” have been on the books all of my life. Total tax revenues collected from smoking, drinking and gambling have exceeded a half billion annually for several years, including the additional general sales taxes the activities generate, according to the State Department of Revenue’s data.


Mississippi voters believe – with varying degrees of factual and historical support for those beliefs – that they have been promised in the past that legalizing and taxing alcohol sales, gaming and other "sins" would provide support for public education and other noble pursuits – and that those promises were often intentional lies.


But despite COVID closures, gaming has played a role in Mississippi’s historic budget surplus in 2021. 


Anonymous said...

How the Tunica, MS casinos are 17th is beyond me. That place is a ghost town and looks like a scene from some zombie movie. It's a far cry from what it once was.

Anonymous said...

Gambling in more ways than one.

Anonymous said...

America could be gripped by a second “great depression” and people would still find the money for booze, gambling, drugs, and prostitution.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi: First in idiots, last in everything else.

Anonymous said...

That’s great news! Doesn’t all of this money goes to educaten and building roads ?

Bill Dees said...

I'm "certain" there's no connection between the huge increase is gambling revenue and the fact that the federal government pumped $20 million into Mississippi" economy in the Winter and Spring of 2021. (For you knuckleheads, this is sarcasm.)

Anonymous said...

The stock market and crypto markets are also unrealistically high. And they are just another form of gambling. There are more crypto ponzi schemes than the SEC can keep up with.
Boomers took their stimulus to the casinos
Millennials bought TSLA and Dogecoin
Zoomers gave their stimulus to Belle Delphine or some other eThot.

Anonymous said...

If the legislature legalizes recreational marijuana, our coffers will overflow with revenue.

Anonymous said...

this is proof that the multiple billions PRINTED by the federal government , shipped and dumped in mississippi doesn't go for food , clothing, shelter and medical care.

Anonymous said...

wow.......9: 16 seems to be an investment genius.
he even seems to know that the SEC is not just a collection of universities.
perhaps he could tell all of us cotton choppers just where and how we need to invest our hard earned money.

people like 9:16 dont have an IRA/ SEP plan that is tied to the S and P 500 or to the DOW 20...............he plays the lottery instead.

rednecks like him will never understand the difference between investing and gambling.

Anonymous said...

@10:10am - So a few million increase in gambling revenue is proof that the *trillions “PRINTED” by the federal government didn’t go towards food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.


Mississippi: First in stupid, last one everything else.

Better Than Ever said...



Anonymous said...

@10:23 and 11:45 are two very good goys

Anonymous said...

Providing some incentives for the building of a half way descent amusement park on the Gulf Coast would keep Alabama at bay no matter what expansion their legislature comes up with. It's never a matter of WHETHER Mississippi is going to innovate and grow, it's always WHEN. Our timing is terrible, if we were ever first to move we wouldn't always be last to benefit.

Anonymous said...

It may have been stimulus money, but it didn’t come from Mississippi , folks from out of state Al, Fl, Ga, and Tn are the drivers who support the casinos, good try though!

Anonymous said...

2:47, are you nuts? Check out the Six Flags former site in New Orleans. And to innovate, one needs to attract talented people to live here. Note that MS is one of three states in the U.S. that LOST population since the last census.

Anonymous said...

I was a blackjack dealer at a Vicksburg Casina twenty years ago when the gaming industry was booming. It was packed every night especially on weekends. There was talk back then that Mississippi could overtake New Jersey to become the number two gaming state in the country, but that never happened because of collapse of the Tunica market and the casinos on I-20 in Lousiana which cut off the Texas market for Vicksburg. Gulf Coast can survive until they put casinas in Alabama or the Florida Panhandle.

Anonymous said...

6:08 How do you attract talented people to live here? Round and round we go...

Anonymous said...

Recreational Marijuana will do it.

But the boomers with the liver spots have to die off first. Someone should really cut off their dialysis. The young taxpayers are subsidizing the elderly's prevention of changing the laws which are in the young peoples' interest.

Anonymous said...

8:26, first you have to have leaders that actually acknowledge that we have problems.

Anonymous said...

Young taxpayers in Mississippi aren't subsidizing jack s***.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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