Miss. casino revenue falls in August

Published 1:57 pm Thursday, September 24, 2009

Revenue for Mississippi’s 30 state-licensed casinos fell 9.1 percent in August as compared to July.

Figures released Tuesday by the Mississippi State Tax Commission show casinos won $206 million last month, about $18.8 million less than in July. The casinos took in $238.2 million in August 2008.

“Our traffic is not bad,” said Allen Godfrey, a deputy director with the state Gaming Commission. “We feel good about people coming and the number that we see, but they are not spending as much money, and I think that is a trend that is experienced all over the United States.”

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The industry had rebounded somewhat in July — at $224.8 million — from a dismal June, when casinos won less money from gamblers than during any month after the reopening of coast casinos in December 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. Revenue was $189.2 million in June.

Casino revenue, or “win,” is the net amount of money won from gamblers. It is not profit.

The gross earnings figure represents casino revenue only — separate from hotel, restaurant or bar revenues generated by the resorts.

The casinos along the Mississippi River won $109.6 million last month compared with $120.6 million in July. The Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos took in about $96.4 million in August compared with about $104.1 million in July.

“Were still significantly down from the prior year,” said Scott King, director of research and policy at the Gulf Coast Business Council.

King said the next few months will tell if the worst is over.

He said sustained year-over-year slides in revenue started in November and December with the highest revenues are generally from January through August.

“The seasons wrapping up now,” King said.

Gaming tax collections are tracked on the state’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30. Casino tax collections in August totaled $29.3 million compared to $23.6 million in July.

Mississippi collected $53 million in the first two months of this fiscal year.

On the Net:

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