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County not banking much on revenue from casinos

NATCHEZ — Adams County officials are being careful not to count too heavily on gambling revenue in 2013, despite the opening of a new casino.

The Natchez Democrat reports the county has only budgeted for an additional $95,000 in gambling revenue for fiscal year 2013.

For the fiscal year that ended in September 2012, a period in which only one casino was open, the county received just over $405,000 in gambling revenue.

But for the current fiscal year, which started two months before the Magnolia Bluffs Casino opened its doors, County Administrator Joe Murray said he has budgeted $500,000 in gambling revenue.

Murray said he is being cautious because there is no way to be sure how well the new establishment will do.

“I was trying to be conservative when we were doing the budget, because there is no way to know what will happen,” Murray said. “The new establishment could come in and it doesn’t work, or the Isle of Capri closes and it washes out, or one takes customers from the other and the business remains the same for both of them.”

The county receives two streams of gaming revenue, one per state statute and one per local legislation that the City of Natchez enacted in 1993 and the county government ratified in 1994.

Under that arrangement, the city receives 3.2 percent of all gaming revenues in Natchez for a given month. The city then forwards 30 percent of its gaming receipts to the county, Murray said.

“Every county that has a gaming vessel and most of the cities have local-private legislation to distribute revenues from the city to the county or the county to the city,” Murray said.

State law that taxes gaming revenue on a progressive rate. The first $50,000 a casino wins is taxed at 0.4 percent, the next $84,000 is taxed at 0.6 percent and all gross revenue exceeding $134,000 is taxed at 0.8 percent.

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