Since the middle of last year, Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos have been edging out Mississippi river operations in revenue. The ongoing transformation of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast casino market seems to have had a positive impact on the area, while Mississippi River casinos continue to lose revenue, according to the latest numbers from the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
For the second consecutive month, Mississippi’s 12 Gulf Coast casinos outperformed the state’s 18 Mississippi River casinos, with first-quarter 2014 numbers showing Gulf Coast casino revenue increased 0.6 percent compared to first quarter 2013, while river casino revenue dropped 5 percent. Statewide revenues fell from $214.1 million in 2012 to $208.2 million in 2014.
For the past two-decades-plus, Tunica Resorts and the other river casinos have dominated statewide the revenue figures, but that began to change in mid-2013, although flooding in 2011 damaged several Tunica casinos and forced them to temporarily close. The economy and increasing competition also have had an effect on the area. In fact, Harrah’s Tunica has announced it will close this summer.
Coastal casino operators had to contend with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but they have responded by building luxury hotels and offering desirable non-gaming amenities.