October 20, 2015
By Mary Perez at Sun Herald
Make that 8 of 9 months this year that South Mississippi casinos surpassed the gross casino revenue from a year ago.
September's casino revenue at the 11 Coast casinos was $92.0 million, according to Tuesday's report from the Mississippi Department of Revenue, up from $88.2 million in September 2014. That's a 4 percent increase.
It's also the best September for the Coast casinos since 2007, when government workers and volunteers were in South Mississippi helping rebuild from Hurricane Katrina.
By September 2008, the Coast started feeling the effects of the national recession and casino revenue took a hit. From May through August 2008, casino revenue was up from the previous year. The casinos closed for a few days in late August and early September 2008 when Hurricane Gustav flooded some South Mississippi streets and casino revenue stayed down for 15 of the next 16 months.
The river casinos also saw a revenue bounce in September to $73.0 million from $71.6 million a year ago -- a 2 percent increase.
That pushed the state's gross casino revenue to September to $165 million, up 3 percent from $160 million a year ago.
Casino revenue in the river counties has been affected by competition. Through 2013, revenue from the river casinos routinely topped the winnings of the Coast casinos. That changed in 2014, when the casinos in South Mississippi had revenue of $1.1 billion compared to $989 million in the river counties.
For the first three quarters of 2015, Coast casino revenue is $873 million, which is $140 million more than the winnings at the river casinos.