The past few months have been extremely difficult for the casino industry in Mississippi. Hurricanes have continued to hit the state, forcing many of the casinos on the coast to shut down. Today, Mississippi’s coastal casinos have begun reopening to the public after the most recent hurricane has passed.
Hope is that this is the last of these major storms to hit this area of the country. The casinos here have been facing a variety of issues already. Today, we’ll take a look at how Mississippi’s gambling industry is faring right now.
Let’s get into it!
Despite Difficulties, the Casino Industry in Mississippi is Expanding
For years, Mississippi has been known to have one of the largest casino industries in the United States. The vast majority of the casinos here are located in the coastal area. It’s here that you can find venues such as the Island View Casino, Scarlet Pearl Casino, and Harrah’s Gulf Coast.
Back in March, all of the casinos in this state were forced to close down. Health experts were skeptical to reveal when these properties would be given permission to reopen again. Finally, in late May, the state began allowing its casinos to open back up.
Initially, the casinos here were seeing almost no visitors. As the weeks went on, more state residents began feeling comfortable playing inside casinos with safety protocols set in place. Revenue earnings continued to increase as the year progressed.
The unusually-tough hurricane season has halted some of this progress. Coastal casinos here have been forced to close and reopen several times. Many of the casinos have also reported damage from the many storms that have come through.
Despite all of the difficulties, the state’s casino industry is still increasing. Not long ago, news broke that a massive new casino-resort will soon be coming to Biloxi, Mississippi. It’s clear that gaming operators here still believe there is room for growth in the casino industry.
We’re now hearing that all of the casinos on the coast are set to reopen with Hurricane Zeta now passed through.
Mississippi’s Coastal Casinos Begin Reopening Process
It was clear early in the year that the pandemic would be taking a serious toll on Mississippi’s casino industry. The regulations set in place here have been resulting in massive dips in revenue earned from these venues. The constant hurricanes have simply made things worse.
There have been several powerful storms that hit the Gulf Coast this year. As we just mentioned, we’ve seen the casinos here close their doors many times this year. It’s making an already bad situation considerably worse.
A few days ago, Hurricane Zeta touched down on the Gulf Coast. Fortunately, this storm was not as powerful as some of the others we’ve seen hit this region in 2020. With the storm now passed, Mississippi’s coastal casinos are beginning to reopen once again.
Silver Slipper in Hancock County was one of the few casinos to reopen open in the state while Zeta hit. It’s also one of the last to remain on emergency power. John Ferrucci, Silver Slipper general manager, spoke about the effects the hurricane had to the media this week.
“The casino itself is fine. No structural damage,” he said. “Right now we’re looking at staying closed today and tomorrow.”
This venue and several others will officially reopen to the public on Saturday. Officials within these venues have to be crossing their fingers it’s the last time this needs to be done. We’ll continue offering updates on how these coastal casinos are doing throughout the rest of 2020.
Sports Betting Revenue in Mississippi Continues to Grow
Mississippi has long been known for having some of the most relaxed gambling laws in the Southern United States. In many ways, the state was a trailblazer for the casino industry in this region. Mississippi was also the first Southern state to officially legalize and regulate sports betting.
Lawmakers here approved a sports betting bill back in August of 2018. Only land-based sportsbooks are able to operate here. The state government claims it’s interested in allowing online sports betting, yet as of now this remains banned.
Revenue from this industry has been growing lately. The sportsbooks here saw a 28.9% increase from August to September. It’s also a 17.9% year-on-year increase when compared to September of 2019.
Much of that money comes from the sportsbooks in Mississippi’s coastal casinos. More than $33.9 million was wagered on sports in this area of the state. The Northern area of the state saw $11.7 million bet on sports.
This money is providing the state and casino companies some much-needed money right now. Allowing online sports betting would likely result in an even greater revenue increase.
Are you happy to see the coastal casinos in Mississippi reopen? Do you think online sports betting should be allowed here? Let us know in the comments section below!