Beau Rivage hosting 2021 Southern Gaming Summit

After a year hiatus, gaming leaders from across the South are gathering this week at the Beau Rivage as a part of the 2021 Southern Gaming Summit.

Following a year which had major impacts on the gaming industry due to COVID, the 2021 Southern Gaming Summit is back on the Coast and is serving as a venue for industry leaders in the region to get together to discuss the future of gaming in the south. Mississippi Gaming Commission Deputy Director Jay McDaniel said, “It was a rough year, but we made it through it. And if we can make it through this year, it shows that we can make it through anything. So, let’s use this opportunity to not forget what we were doing in 2019 before 2020 hit, take what we learned from 2020, and make 2021 and beyond even better for the gaming industry.”

This year, the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association chose to shorten the event and chose not to have exhibitors.

The summit, however, is still holding multiple networking events, as well as panel discussions of current gaming-related issues, one of which is online sports betting. “It’s hard to predict the future. I will say with our sports betting we have a great retail model, but to go statewide mobile is something our legislature would have to approve. You know, nothing was done this session, but they are continuing to talk about it. There were legislators here. Obviously, the industry is still discussing it.”

McDaniel believes as states like Tennessee, Alabama, and Louisiana began to adopt online sports betting laws, Mississippi will switch gears and go mobile as well as to combat that competition.

If that were to happen, cashless wagering may be in casinos soon after. Jonathan Jones of Harrah’s Gulf Coast considered the impact this would have on responsible gaming. “By going more to a digital system, I think that would make us better operators and able to abide by our core principles of promoting responsible gaming.”

The three-day event will come to a close Thursday.

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