State’s casinos took in less winnings in July compared to 2011

AROUND MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi’s Gulf Coast casinos won more money from gamblers in July than in any month since August 2008. But the state’s river region casinos continued to lag their historical performance, meaning casinos statewide won less money than in July 2011.

Overall revenue fell 3.3 percent from July 2011, to $203.6 million, according to Mississippi Department of Revenue figures.

In July, the 12 coastal casinos won a total of $104.5 million from gamblers, up 5.1 percent from the $99.5 million that they won in June 2011.

The 17 river casinos from Tunica to Natchez won $99 million, down 11 percent from the $111.1 million they won in July of last year.

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

Jack Norris, president of the Gulf Coast Business Council, said the numbers for the coast casinos were “very encouraging.”

“I’m hoping that’s a sign that when we look at the tourism revenues, they may be up,” Norris said.

June and May had been weak on the coast, after an encouraging start to the year. The strong July pushed revenues for casinos in that region slightly ahead of 2011′s pace through the first seven months of the year, although revenues are still down on a rolling 12-month basis.

Casino revenues along the Mississippi River remain higher in 2012 than in 2011 because of the earlier year’s flooding. Winnings from river region gamblers are 6.2 percent above 2011′s pace through July, and are also ahead on a rolling 12-month basis.

Statewide, revenues are 3.2 percent above 2011 through July thanks to the river region recovery but flat on a 12-month basis.

Next door to Mississippi, Louisiana’s state-licensed casinos took in nearly $198 million from gamblers in June. That’s a 12 percent drop in winnings from July 2011 and a 2.6 percent dip from June 2012.

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