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State's casinos see 7 percent drop in revenue

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi casino revenue resumed its year-over-year slide in June after showing positive results in May.

Statewide casino revenue fell nearly 7 percent from June 2012 to $174.5 million, according to Mississippi Department of revenue figures.

The state’s gambling halls eked out a 1 percent gain in 2012, because revenue rebounded after most Mississippi River casinos were affected by the 2011 floods. But year-over-year casino revenue has fallen in 11 of the last 12 months. May was the exception, when revenue rose 3 percent.

The 18 river casinos from Tunica to Natchez won $89.3 million, down 8 percent from $97 million in June 2012. The 12 coastal casinos won $85.2 million from gamblers, down 5.2 percent from $89.9 million June 2012.

The numbers exclude Choctaw Indian casinos, which aren’t required to report winnings to the state.

Over the past 12 months, the state’s casinos have collected only about 75 percent of the money they collected in 2007, the peak year for gambling revenues. Lower gambling revenues mean less tax revenues for local and state governments, as well. State gambling tax collections over the last 12 months were about $60 million lower than they were in 2007. The decreases also mean fewer jobs, as casinos cut back on the number of employees.

Revenue declines have been steeper, in general, along the river, That’s in part because Tunica, Lula and Greenville casinos have faced increasing competition from expanded gambling in Arkansas.

Louisiana added a 19th casino in June, but statewide casino winnings went down there. Louisiana’s state-regulated casinos took in $8.3 million less in June than 18 casinos did a year earlier and $19.7 million less than they did in May, according to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. Louisiana’s market, though, has not shown the same steady downward trend that Mississippi’s has.

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  1. A recent study by two economists reported that Mississippi led the nation in public official corruption rates between 1985 and 2000 — and speculated that the arrival of casino gambling in the state may have made an existing problem worse.


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