Mississippi casino revenues in March down $8M over previous month, officials cite recession

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mississippi casino revenues down in March

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s state-licensed casinos reported March revenues of $212.5 million, down about $8.3 million from February.

The March figures were released Wednesday by the Mississippi State Tax Commission.

The casinos reported revenues of $220.8 million in February. The casinos had revenues of $232.7 million in March 2009.

Allen Godfrey, deputy director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, said the figures show an economy still struggling to get out of recession.

“It’s hard to look at numbers of one month and last month was not a good one. We were hoping for better,” Godfrey said.

Godfrey said the slide in Mississippi follows one that occurred in Louisiana.

“Louisiana was down 5 percent and we’re down under 9 percent from a year ago, so it is still a single digit decline from last year … but it shows we’re still not out of the woods with the economy.

“Still, we’ve been getting a lot of interest from developers. We’ve had a number of people come to us with proposals in both districts (Gulf Coast and Mississippi River) and that is encouraging,” he said.

Casinos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast won $95.7 million, down about $58,000 from February. The casinos reported revenues of $101.8 million for the same month last year.

Casinos along the Mississippi River — including Tunica, Vicksburg and Natchez — won $116.8 million in March, down about $8.2 million from February. Revenues were $130.8 million in March 2009.

Casino revenue, or “win,” is the net amount of money won from gamblers. It is not profit. And it’s casino revenue only — separate from hotel, restaurant or bar revenues generated by the resorts.

Tax revenue for March totaled $32.4 million, bringing the state’s fiscal year total to $214.4 million. At the same stage of the last fiscal year, $233.9 million had been taken in.

The figures do not include Indian reservation casinos, which are not required to report their winnings to the public.

In Louisiana, gamblers left behind $206.5 million in March at the state-licensed casinos, down about 5.2 percent from March 2009.

The 13 riverboat casinos took in $142.4 million, while Harrah’s New Orleans land casino won $29.6 million. The four casinos at race tracks won $34.4 million.

In March 2009, those casinos took in $218 million. The latest figure was down a bit from the Mardi Gras month of February 2010 when gamblers lost $208.7 million.

On the Net:

Mississippi State Tax Commission, www.mstc.state.ms.us

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