A Winning Bet: The future of gaming in Mississippi

This week we celebrate the 30th anniversary of legal casino gambling in Mississippi.

After last year’s record-breaking revenue, what is next? What does the future of gaming look like in the Magnolia state?

After achieving record-breaking revenues in 2021, what’s next for gaming in Mississippi? How do we continue to improve and set ourselves apart from other gaming destinations? Lifelong Biloxi resident Vincent Creel said, “If we can keep affordable, keep things like the Sports Illustrated extravaganza you hear about in D’Iberville, the aquarium in Gulfport, the new paradise pier that’s being build down at Margaritaville, if we can keep those things, the shopping, the retail, the restaurants, we need those things to make sure we have the total package.”

MGM Resorts International Vice President Legal Council Anthony Delvescovo said, “They really did a good job of drafting legislation for this state with open licensing, a very competitive tax rate, and basically they’ve stayed consistent throughout the years with those.”

Adding sports betting in casinos generated exponential revenue and invited a younger population to play on the Coast. Beau Rivage President and COO Brandon Dardeau said, “In the last 25 years, technology has changed the world and no different in this room that we sit in.”

In order for hotels and casinos in Mississippi to be competitive, they have to continue to reinvent themselves, the Beau Rivage is under a $55 million renovation and we can quite literally step into the future.

The 2022 room upgrade introduces the digital key, digital thermostat, and upgraded WIFI. “It’s a pretty neat addition to the rooms that when a guest comes in and swipes their keys in the elevator, the room, and the system understand and knows that that particular individual is on the way to the room. So, we can turn it on and have the a/c automatically kick on and again just that arrival experience is kind of unparallel.”

The gaming industry not only affects casinos and hotels, the Gulfport Biloxi International Airport relies heavily on guests for air travel.

The Beau Rivage and Harrah’s Resort both have air charter programs flying tourists from across the country to the Coast. Gulfport Biloxi International Airport Executive Director Clay Williams said, “The charter programs constitute approximately 25 percent of the air service here at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. So, it really means a lot to us, not only as an organization, but to our local economy.”

After learning and understanding the 30-year timeline of gaming in Mississippi, the legislation necessary to keep casinos on the Coast after Hurricane Katrina, and what’s to come in the future, there was only one question left. “Thirty years of gaming, three decades, was it worth it?” “Absolutely, absolutely.” “Absolutely was.” “Absolutely, yeah.” “Absolutely.” “They hit the jackpot. It wasn’t that it was a good bet, it was a jackpot. No doubt about it.”

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