Getting to Know Gaming Campaign
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t believe the casino industry has reeled in big bucks on the Coast, but just how big is the jackpot gaming is making for the state?
Gaming and community leaders all chipped in on this and other industry issues at Biloxi’s IP Resort and Casino today.
A Coast city on the verge of bankruptcy decades after a ferocious category 5 hurricane hit South Mississippi. With the roll of the dice, gaming leaders credit casinos for pulling Biloxi’s economy back to shore. Boomtown Casino Vice President of Operations Wade Howk said, “This area, since Camille, had not fully recovered until 1992 when we approved gaming. I mean, at the end of the day, that is what I think sparked the entire resurgence of this area.”
Industry and local leaders went all in at a round table discussion at the IP Casino, highlighting the positive economic and community impact throughout Mississippi over the past 24 years.
Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association, tells News 25 our area’s warm weather and amenities are an added bonus. “We heard today that at least one company here attracts more than 80 percent of their customers from more than 70 miles away.”
Gaming industry leaders are expecting Mississippi casinos to generate $6.5 billion in tax revenue over the next year. They say that’s enough money to fund the entire state budget for a full year. “We see the school systems have certainly thrived because of that money coming in, but that money gets spent throughout the state, it doesn’t just go to the casino areas,” said Howk.
Gaming leaders say the rest of the state thrives off the money made from casinos, using it to repair roads, buildings and for general funding. Gaming industry officials say the tax revenue winnings end up coming full circle because people come down to play the slots on the Coast. “At the end of the day the casino industry has been a partner that has helped this community recover. It’s helped this community be stronger than it ever has been before,” said Freeman.
And stronger still, is the group’s consensus, if the state legalizes sports betting in casinos down the road.