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: 113876

Reported Deaths: 3238
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7850176
DeSoto685779
Harrison505083
Jackson445084
Rankin388186
Madison377993
Lee350779
Forrest299578
Jones287784
Washington255199
Lafayette245943
Lauderdale2418134
Lamar221238
Bolivar200177
Oktibbeha199354
Neshoba1831111
Lowndes176362
Panola169038
Leflore165187
Sunflower159749
Warren153655
Monroe147372
Pontotoc145819
Marshall139227
Lincoln138557
Pike137756
Copiah136236
Coahoma124736
Scott124729
Grenada121138
Yazoo120733
Simpson120449
Union116525
Tate114939
Leake114340
Holmes114160
Pearl River112259
Itawamba112125
Adams106743
Prentiss103719
Wayne99821
Alcorn98112
George97718
Covington95326
Marion93542
Tippah88121
Newton85227
Chickasaw83626
Tallahatchie83025
Winston82821
Tishomingo80041
Hancock79827
Attala78926
Clarke73450
Clay68321
Jasper67717
Walthall63627
Calhoun61912
Noxubee59617
Smith58916
Montgomery53523
Claiborne53316
Tunica52817
Yalobusha51914
Lawrence50714
Perry48623
Carroll47612
Greene46918
Stone46214
Humphreys42616
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster37013
Wilkinson33520
Benton3255
Kemper32015
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27410
Franklin2373
Choctaw2046
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
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