ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — February winnings for Mississippi’s casinos rose 2.6 percent from a year ago, only the second time in the last year that revenues have improved at the state’s 30 gambling halls.
The month was aided by the leap year’s extra day, as well as Mardi Gras occurring in the month. In 2011, Mardi Gras was in March.
Overall, casinos won $214.1 million, compared with $208.6 million in February 2011.
The 11 casinos in the Gulf Coast market saw revenue rise 5.1 percent, to $98.4 million from $93.6 million. The 19 casinos along the Mississippi River saw revenues rise 0.6 percent, to $115.7 million from $115.1 million.
February is traditionally one of the strongest months for Mississippi casinos, along with January and March.
The state’s gambling halls have struggled to regain momentum after the recession, with revenue sliding for four straight years after hitting a high of $2.89 billion in 2007.
Revenues did increase at Mississippi casinos in December, meaning they have gone up in two out of three months. Casino and tourism leaders have expressed hope that new investments along the Gulf Coast may help create a positive trend.
February winnings for Louisiana’s state-licensed casinos jumped 8.7 percent from a year ago.