Casino Gambling

Coast casinos are struggling to bring in revenue

The numbers tumble on a slot machine at the 2017 Gaming Summit in Biloxi, May, 3, 2017. Coast casino revenue fell for the second straight month in October, pushing totals $10 million below last year at this time.
The numbers tumble on a slot machine at the 2017 Gaming Summit in Biloxi, May, 3, 2017. Coast casino revenue fell for the second straight month in October, pushing totals $10 million below last year at this time. Sun Herald file

If a 5 percent decline in casino revenue on the Coast in October seems steep, the losses in the river counties are twice as bad.

Mississippi Department of Revenue reported Monday the 12 Coast casinos won $94 million from gamblers in October. That’s down 5.4 percent from the $96 million in gross casino revenue in October 2016. It also puts total revenue this year at $998 million, or $10 million behind the same time last year and unlikely to catch up. The levels are $45 million below pre-Hurricane Katrina numbers in 2004.

Part of the decline can be blamed on Hurricane Nate, which closed the casinos for about 24 hours on one of the busiest tourist weekends of the year and sent home people who came to South Mississippi for Cruisin’ The Coast.

Revenue at the river casinos fell 11.5 percent from a year ago, chopping total casino revenue for Mississippi in October by 8 percent.

In September, Mississippi was one of three states to see a decline in revenue, according to the Adams Revenue Revue. The others were Louisiana and Florida, where many of the customers come from who play at South Mississippi casinos.

Revenues at casinos nationwide grew by 5.3 percent to $3.4 billion in September. Revenue in Atlantic City grew by 4 percent and Maryland, which has benefited from the new MGM National Harbor just outside Washington, D.C., saw a 39 percent increase from a year ago.

Casino revenues in millions

Gross revenues

Oct. 2017

Oct. 2016

% change

Coast

$94.1

$99.5

- 5.4%

River

$65.6

$74.1

- 11.5%

State

$159.7

$173.6

- 8.0%

Source: Mississippi Department of Revenue, Gaming Commission

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