Mississippi Casino Market Down 2% to $2.08BN in 2017

Mississippi Casino Market Down 2% to $2.08BN in 2017Mississippi’s casino market suffered a 2% revenue drop to $2.08 billion in 2017, with business down by around $40 million compared to the previous year. Despite the unimpressive result, the figures were slightly buoyed by a positive final month of the year in which gamblers lost more than $176 million, up by 3% versus the $171 million collected in December of 2016.

The Magnolia State has the third-lowest casino tax rate across the whole country, and this was reflected in the amount of money funnelled into state coffers last year which amounted to around $250 million. By way of comparison, Pennsylvania’s casino market generated revenues of $3.22 billion in 2017, of which $1.33 billion was collected by way of tax revenues by the government.

Once again, Mississippi’s casino industry was a tale of two markets, with the state’s 12 coastal casinos posting a roughly 1% revenue increase to $1.19 billion in 2017, and marking four consecutive years of growth for those casinos. Furthermore, the year finished on a strong note with December’s revenue rising by 7% to $99 million, representing the second-highest growth rate of the year.

Meanwhile, Mississippi’s 16 river casinos continued their losing streak with revenues falling by 5% to $885 million for the year. As a result, the market has now posted declining revenues for every year but one since 2006, with Tunica County and Lula particularly affected by the increased competition coming from the two racinos located in Arkansas. On a slightly more positive note, the river casinos ended the year with revenues declining by a less severe 1.4% to $77 million in December.

Finally, Mississippi is one of just 6 states without a lottery industry, the others being Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah. According to state economist Darrin Webb, Mississippi residents buy between $5-$10 million worth of lottery tickets from Arkansas each year, and around $30 million from Louisiana. Needless to say, some lawmakers have been eyeing the industry as a potential much-needed money spinner for state coffers, and as Rep. Mark Baker said recently:

“If that money is going to go to educate children and it’s going to go to fix roads and bridges, then it ought to be in Mississippi. I’m just being a realist about it.”

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