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Miss. casino gross revenue at $245M in January

Mississippi gross gaming revenues were $245.8 million in January, up about $22 million from a year ago when the state’s casino industry was struggling to rebound from Hurricane Katrina.

The gross earnings figure represents revenue with no operating costs or other expenses deducted. And it’s casino revenue only — separate from hotel, restaurant or bar revenues generated by the resorts.

In January 2006, gross revenue totaled $223.8 million with $263.6 million recorded in January 2005, according to Mississippi State Tax Commission records.

The Tax Commission tracks gaming revenue by calendar year.

Gaming tax collections are tracked on the state’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to the next June 30. Tax collections in January totaled $33.5 million compared to $24.2 million for January 2006.

For the first seven months of the fiscal year, Tax Commission figures show total tax collections of $188.4 million. In the first seven months of the previous fiscal year, collections totaled $150.7 million.

Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 destroyed casinos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Many of those casinos have reopened.

In January, casinos along the Mississippi coast earned $105.8 million, up from the post-Katrina level of $64.2 million in January 2006 when only three coast casinos were back in operation. Figures were below the pre-hurricane January 2005 earnings of $118.8 million and $109.6 million in January 2004.

Along the Mississippi River, casinos reported gross revenue of $140 million, compared with $159.6 million in January 2006. The river casinos had earnings of $144.8 million in January 2005.

January had only four weekends in 2007, but it had five weekends in both 2006 and 2005.

January was unusually wet and cold, said Barry Keim, with the Southern Regional Climate Center in Baton Rouge, La.

“We went through a run of weather, especially the later half of January that was colder than normal, not brutally cold, but colder and consistently wet,” Keim said.

“It wasn’t so much that the rainfall totals were higher, but we were socked in with clouds and the amount of time it was raining or drizzling. I know we went about 10 straight days with hardly any sun at all. I think people just don’t like getting out and about in that kind of weather,” Keim said.

On the Net:

Mississippi State Tax Commission, http://www.mstc.state.ms.us