Mississippi’s 30 commercial casinos employed 22,770 permanent workers and paid its employees $831 million in wages, benefits and tips, according to new jobs numbers for 2013 released today by the American Gaming Association. Mississippi ranks third nationwide for casino employment behind only Nevada and New Jersey; Louisiana ranks fourth with nearly 16,000 casino employees.
One casino — Harrah’s Tunica — has already closed this summer, displacing about 1,500 workers. Another casino — Margaritaville Biloxi will close in September, leaving about 350 unemployed.
“While casino gaming in Mississippi has faced challenges as it adapts to increased competition, the industry continues to support thousands of jobs that pay well above the minimum wage and offer fulfilling careers in a range of professions that extend beyond the casino floor,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA.
“Americans feel more favorably toward casino gaming than ever before, and they recognize that gaming creates jobs, boosts small businesses and positively affects local communities. We applaud Mississippi policymakers who are working with casinos in order to continue strengthening their communities as they face increased competition from neighboring states.”
According to numbers from March 2014 on the Mississippi Gaming Commission website, the state employed 22,500 in March 2014. The employment number is down from 2012 when an AGA survey said the state had 23,377 hotel and casino workers.
The largest employer in the state is Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi with more than 2,738 (1,295 casino workers and 1,443 hotel employees).
Jobs in the AGA survey include accounting, hotel management, information systems, technology, software, food and beverage, retail, and entertainment.
In 2013, the survey said, Mississippi casinos generated almost $258 million in tax revenue, which paid for housing, education, transportation, health care services, youth counseling programs and local public safety programs.