State’s casinos see drop in November revenue

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — The state’s casino revenue shrank again in November, but at a much slower pace than October’s 8 percent decline.

Statewide casino revenue fell to $164.4 million, according to Mississippi Department of Revenue figures.

The dip left the state’s gambling halls running $13 million ahead of 2011′s pace through 11 months. In 2011, Mississippi River casinos closed for much of May because of flooding.

The 17 river casinos from Tunica to Natchez won $83.9 million, down 1 percent from the $84.7 million they won in November 2011. An 18th casino opened Tuesday in Natchez.

The 12 coastal casinos won $80.5 million from gamblers, down less than 1 percent from the $81.1 million they won in October 2011.

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

Fall is traditionally one of the weakest periods for Mississippi gambling halls, and some have cut back on employees.

Revenues have fallen at Mississippi casinos every year since peaking in 2007. Casino owners had hoped 2012 would be the year that trend would reverse. Through the first 11 months of 2012, revenues were 0.6 percent ahead of 2011. But revenues have fallen in July and each succeeding month when compared to the same month of 2011.

While coastal casinos have had small losses in the months since July, river casinos saw three months where receipts were down more than 10 percent. Tunica and Lula casinos have been facing competition from expanded gambling venues in Arkansas.

Next door, Louisiana’s state-licensed casinos won $193 million from gamblers in November, 10 percent more than the $175 million they won in November 2011. Better performance by a New Orleans casino and a new casino in Baton Rouge drove improvements in Louisiana.

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