Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos flexed their muscles in June, beginning the summer with a 13 percent increase over last year’s June and posting their most-profitable June since 2008 in Gross Gaming Revenue numbers released today by the Mississippi Gaming Commission. The coast also showed a modest increase over 2013 for the first six months of 2014.
The $95.7 million won by coast casinos was an increase of almost $11 million over the $84.7 won last June. It is the third time in six months this year that the Gulf Coast has shown an increase over 2013 numbers.
“I think this is a positive statement for the Gulf Coast.,” said Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission. “I think what you’re seeing is the reinvestments and amenities in place are making a difference.
“I think the market is rebounding and bringing more patrons onto the property.”
The numbers were different, however, along the river counties, which continue to spiral downward, especially in the Tunica Resorts area.
The $78.7 million in revenue was the worst June since the 1994 when Mississippi gaming was still in its infancy. The $10.3 million drop from 2013 represented a fall of 11.6 percent. The drop reflects the closure of Harrah’s Tunica, one of Tunica Resorts’ largest casinos, which shut its doors in early June.
The revenue total statewide in June was $174.4 million, an increase of four-tenths of a percent from the $173.7 million last year.
For the six-month period ending in June, statewide revenues were $1.060 billion, down $43.9 million (3.9 percent) – but all of the drop was in the river counties, which lost 45.3 million (an 8 percent drop). The Gulf Coast showed a small gain of 1.4 million, (0.3 percent), its first January-June increase since 2011.
Many of the Gulf Coast casinos have improved their properties, adding amenities and hotel space over the last few years. However, Margaritaville Casino announced Monday it is closing in September. Tunica Resorts, once one of the largest destination sites, continues to suffer from increased competition in other states and a lack of amenities in northwest Mississippi.