Mississippi gaming revenues were up nearly 8% in January, compared to last year. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, it's a boost that has the casino industry hopeful for 2016.
The growth in January was propelled by a 15% rise in revenues on the Gulf Coast. Michael Bruffey is deputy director of the Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association.
He says Gulf Coast revenues grew 6% overall last year. It’s still too soon to say exactly what role the coast’s newest casino, the Scarlet Pearl, played "because they opened Dec. 19 and it was only about 12 days," he says, "but we’re certainly very hopeful that they'll have a positive impact - and the January number seem to suggest that there’s a positive trend that’s continuing.”
Along the Mississippi river, casino revenues were essentially flat in January. Following recent declines, that’s not bad news actually. Bruffey says a new outlet mall not far from Tunica, seems to be helping to bring visitors to the city’s casinos.
"The reported revenues for the Tunica region for January 2016 were $53.5 million, compared to $53.4 million a year ago," he says. "Where you've seen that decline, now to see an increase is very encouraging."
Webster Franklin is president of the Tunica Convention & Visitors Bureau. He says the year seems to be off to a good start.
"Our market as most everyone knows has had a decline for the last five or six years, especially since the flood of 2011 and the economy," he says. "So we feel like off to a good start for 2016 is a good sign for the rest of the year."
Mississippi gaming revenues totaled just over $177 million in January.