Mississippi casinos win more as sports betting boost extends

Casinos on the Mississippi Gulf Coast won the second-highest monthly amount ever in March, boosted by betting on the NCAA basketball tournament.

Posted: May 1, 2019 10:09 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Casinos on the Mississippi Gulf Coast won the second-highest monthly amount ever in March, boosted by betting on the NCAA basketball tournament.

Although casinos in other parts of Mississippi remain beset by increasing competition, they too have been showing strength since the advent of sports betting.

Figures released this month show gamblers lost $212 million in March, up 5% from $201 million in March 2018. That includes $8.4 million in sports betting revenue at casinos.

The 12 coastal casinos saw March revenue rise 13% percent to $124 million. The only month when higher revenue was recorded was in July 2007. March is usually the peak revenue month of the year at Mississippi casinos, with gamblers spurred to the table by income tax refunds.

"They saw really good numbers associated with March Madness," said Jay McDaniel, deputy director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission. The commission has yet to conduct a formal study of the impact of sports betting, but McDaniel said there's little doubt what's driving the trend, with casinos statewide up nearly 4% in the past 12 months. "We figure that it's got to be sports betting," he said.

Casino managers and state officials believe sports bettors are also spending money in casino hotels and restaurants and doing other gambling.

"Sports betting is certainly contributing the most to our increased revenue, but it is hard to put actual numbers on the non-gaming components," Chett Harrison, general manager of Golden Nugget Biloxi casino, wrote in an email. "We do know that with those who are sports betting are staying the night, gambling, and eating at our hotel and casino."

Golden Nugget, with five casinos nationwide, is owned by Houston dining and entertainment magnate Tilman Fertitta.

The 15 casinos along the Mississippi River from Natchez to Tunica County saw revenue fall 4% to $88 million. That's a down month, but it came after seven straight months of increases. Revenue at the river casinos is up 2% over the past 12 months, a reversal of a yearslong downward trend.

But the heavy pressure from expanding gambling in Arkansas, especially in Tunica County and Lula, isn't letting up. Caesars Entertainment closed the Tunica Roadhouse casino in Tunica County in January, and Penn National Gaming announced earlier this month that it will close Resorts Casino Tunica on June 30.

Voters in Arkansas approved a referendum allowing four full-fledged casinos, including one at Southland Gaming & Racing in nearby West Memphis. Operator Delaware North announced a $250 million expansion of Southland in January.

Numbers exclude Choctaw Indian casinos, which don't report to the state.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
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