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State's casinos saw winnings decrease in March

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Winnings for Mississippi’s state-licensed casinos totaled $208.9 million last month, down a bit from March 2010, the state Revenue Department reports.

The 11 casinos along the Gulf Coast took in $93.5 million in March, while the 19 casinos along the Mississippi River won $115.4 million from players.

The tally was down 1.7 percent from the $212.5 million left behind by gamblers in March 2010.

In February, the casinos won $207.4 million.

The casino business has had its ups and downs during the uneven economic recovery with money for discretionary spending and travel being tight for individuals — and businesses watching dollars spent on conventions, a lucrative target of casinos and the cities that host them.

In addition, high gasoline prices also are weighing in, analysts have said.

Mississippi also has been facing increased competition from tribal casinos in Florida.

Still, analysts say regional markets such as Mississippi still are in a better short-term position than those dependent on long-distance travel. For example, Nevada casinos saw their February revenue fall 6.8 percent from February 2010 — the fourth straight month of drops and the steepest in over a year.

The Mississippi figures do not include Indian reservation casinos, which are not required to report their winnings to the public.

Source: Associated Press

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