Even after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina less than three years ago, the Mississippi Gulf Coast finds its casino industry growing at a remarkable rate. Despite having properties utterly destroyed by the storm, casinos have rebuilt and reorganized to the point that 20007 is expected to have been a record year for revenue.
The executive director of the mississippi Gaming Commission, Larry Gregory, had set an ambitious goal of $3 billion in gross receipts at the beginning of the year, and he recently said, “It’s going to be very close. There’s no doubt it will be a record.”
Commission represenatives noted that, while in 2006 monthly casino revenues topped $100 million only one time, in 2007 every month topped the $100 million mark except one.
Even as Atlantic City and other areas try to devise strategies to cope with losses incurred by stiffer and more numerous competition, Mississippi surged forward, closing the gap between itself as the third-largest casino market in the U.S. and Atlantic City as the second. Las Vegas remains first.
Over 15,000 jobs exist in the Mississippi casino industry, and that number is expected to increase as new casinos in Biloxi and D’Iberville open soon.
Terence Robicheaux, employee of the Beau Rivage Casino, said, “Without the help and influx of cash from the casinos, the Gulf Coast would still be in tatters. We have a long way to go, but the gambling businesses have made repairing our lives easier.”