Rebounding of casinos good for state

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2006

The booming economy of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is far from recovery. Entire communities remain in the battered state thrust on them by Hurricane Katrina four months ago.

Thousands of people cannot return to their homes and businesses as they wrangle with insurance companies over damages. Thousands of others are living in FEMA trailers or in tents or in leaking remains of their homes as they attempt to rebuild their lives in the towns and cities destroyed or damaged by the storm.

On Thursday, however, the first of the Coast&8217;s casinos opened for business in Biloxi, when the Imperial Palace Casino welcomed several thousand gamblers in the first two hours, according to casino officials&8217; estimates.

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Two more casinos are expected to open this week, Isle of Capri, in a smaller, temporary land-based facility while it builds a larger casino on shore; and The Palace, also opening in smaller, temporary facilities.

Casinos brought the economic boom to the Coast, and the news of their return brings a fresh glimmer of hope for many thousands who worked at the casinos or who had businesses that benefited from casino customers &8212; restaurants, shops, gasoline stations and many other retail establishments.

More casinos have released opening dates, ranging from now until September 2006.

A rebounding of this industry is good news for the Coast and for all of Mississippi.