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Casino revenue up, but gaming along river remains depressed

It has been an easy year so far for the state’s casinos, but there is finally some good news, at least for venues on the Coast.

Mississippi Department of Revenue figures show casinos took in about $179.1 million in August, compared to about $178.4 million a year ago, according to The Associated Press.

The 12 casinos in coastal counties won about $90 million — a 4.3 percent increase over last August’s $86.3 million.

However, the 18 riverboat casinos from Tunica to Natchez won about $89 million, down 3.3 percent from $92.1 million last year.

Casino revenue increased for only the second month this year in Mississippi, thanks to the strong month on the coast. (The numbers exclude casinos operated by the Choctaw Indian tribe, which aren’t required to report winnings to the state.)

Casino revenue peaked in Mississippi in 2007 and has fallen each year since. There was a brief improvement in early 2012, but the downward trend resumed.

Industry leaders have said that along the Mississippi River, Tunica and Lula casinos have suffered from competition from the expansion of gambling in Arkansas. The nation’s economic downturn also has been cited as a negative factor for the casinos.

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