Miss. casino gross revenue at $239M in Sept.

Published 4:29 pm Friday, October 19, 2007

Mississippi’s gross gaming revenues held steady in September at $239 million, down only about $175,000 from August.

Win, or casino revenue, is the net amount of money won from gamblers. It is not profit.

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

Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, said Thursday that he expects Mississippi’s total gross gaming revenue to be “right at” $3 billion by the end of the year. To reach that figure, the state’s casinos will have to bring in about $259 million a month for the next three months.

Mississippi had gross gaming revenues of $239.2 million for August and $240.7 million in September 2006, according to figures from the Mississippi State Tax Commission.

The coast casinos reported revenues of $111.9 million, up from $108.6 million in August.

“That’s the strongest September on record for the Gulf Coast market,” said Gregory. “That market is moving in a positive direction.”

Alan Silver, director of Tulane University’s casino resort management program in Biloxi, said he believes the Gulf Coast numbers are up because new restaurants and top-notch entertainment are attracting consumers to the 11 casinos there.

“People are seeing this area as a destination,” he said.

The casinos along the Mississippi River, which includes those in Tunica and Vicksburg, reported revenue of $127.3 million, down about $3 million from August.

Gregory sees the Tunica area as a “very consistent market,” making gains of 1 to 2 percent over the last year with another casino opening in Greenville this month.

He said, “It’s very competitive throughout this country now,” in the casino industry, and small yet steady growth in Tunica is in big contrast to the double-digit losses casinos have seen in Atlantic City, N.J.

For the first nine months of this year, Mississippi casinos have earned $2.22 billion, according to Tax Commission figures.

Gaming tax collections are tracked on the state’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to the next June 30. Casino tax collections in September totaled $27 million, compared to $26.9 million in August. Tax collections for the first three months of the fiscal year totaled $89.4 million.

On the Net:

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