Mississippi Celebrates 25 Years of Casino GamblingAugust 5, 2016 1:27 pm
In 1992, Mississippi’s first legal casino opened for business in Harrison County at a time when only a handful of other US states had embraced the industry. Since then, The Magnolia State’s casino market has grown to more than 30 casinos, including twelve located along the Gulf Of Mexico, which together have generated around $53 billion in revenues. From that total, around $6.5 billion has subsequently been collected by way of state taxes.
No wonder, then, Mississippi chose to mark 25 year of legal casino gambling by hosting a special celebration at the IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi, with the event attended by industry executives, lawmakers and gambling specialists from all across the state. Also in attendance was American Gaming Association (AGA) Chief Executive, Geoff Freeman, who praised an industry which currently employs more than 40,000 staff, and speaking at the event held up Mississippi’s casino industry as “a model for other communities” to follow.
Noting that the state’s casino revenues have leveled off recently, the AGA president highlighted the need for the industry to move ahead with the times, before citing sports betting as a new avenue to explore in order to keep the tax dollars rolling in. Currently all US states, with the exception of Oregon, Delaware, Montana, and Nevada, are forbidden from offering sports betting by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992.
Commenting on the current legislation, Freeman said that PASPA had “failed miserably” as each year more than $150 billion is spent by US citizens on sports betting, of which only 3% is gambled at legal outlets. As a result, Freeman has called for the federal law to be repealed, with the decision as to whether to permit sports betting then placed in the hands of each individual state. Laying out his vision of the future, Freeman stated:
“Gaming is an invaluable community partner on the Gulf Coast, but no state can rest on its laurels. Sports betting offers a tremendous opportunity to give southern Mississippi sports fans what they want and ensures gaming continues to benefit Mississippi for years to come.”