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State's casinos see 9 percent drop in winnings

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi’s state-licensed casinos recorded a 9 percent drop in August gambling winnings from a year ago.

The 19 casinos along the Mississippi River took in $94 million from players last month, down $6.5 million from August 2010. The 11 casinos along the Gulf Coast won $90.9 million, down from $101 million a year ago.

Overall, casino winnings totaled $185.1 million, down from $201.7 million a year ago. For July, typically a busier month for the business, winnings totaled $210.6 million.

The casino business nationwide has been struggling to recover from the Great Recession, which slashed discretionary spending and business travel and was followed early in 2011 by skyrocketing gasoline prices. Recently, some economists have been warning of the possibility of another recession amid a snail’s pace growth in jobs.

Mississippi’s business took a hit in the spring as Mississippi River flooding forced the lengthy closure of riverside casinos.

In neighboring Louisiana, 13 riverboat casinos, the New Orleans land casino and four race track casinos recorded a 4 percent drop in winnings in August from a year ago. New Jersey took a 20 percent hit in August as Hurricane Irene forced the shuttering of all the Atlantic City casinos.

Nevada has yet to report August figures, but recorded a 3.7 percent gain in July from July 2010.

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

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