2007 was record year for gaming

Published 11:45 pm Sunday, January 13, 2008

BILOXI (AP) — Mississippi casino officials expect 2007 to have been a record-breaking year for gaming revenue.

‘‘There’s no doubt it will be a record,’’ said Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

Early last year Gregory set the ambitious goal of reaching $3 billion for the Mississippi casinos. The numbers will fall shy, but ‘‘it’s going to be very close,’’ he said.

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The Mississippi State Tax Commission posts the Casino Gross Gaming Revenue around the middle of the month, based on the money gamblers wagered and lost at casinos. The December numbers will show both the month and the year-end tally.

Mississippi Gaming Commissioner John Hairston said coast casino revenues topped $100 million in only one month in 2006.

‘‘In 2007 we had only had one month (October) that was below $100 million. We’ve already exceeded by a long shot the numbers from last year.

‘‘December’s always a little slower,’’ Hairston said, and figures are expected to be slightly down from November.

Casinos in other states reported declines and Atlantic City saw its first yearly decrease of gaming revenue in 28 years, dropping 5.7 percent.

At the city’s 11 casinos, the same number as on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, revenue sunk from $5.21 billion in 2006 to $4.92 billion this year. The second largest casino market after Las Vegas, Atlantic City lost ground to number three, Mississippi.

Since neighboring Pennsylvania legalized slot machines, ‘‘It’s taken a lot of business away,’’ said Alan Silver, director of casino resort studies at Tulane University’s Gulf Coast Campus. ‘‘There’s no doubt that Atlantic City is being impacted greatly and the market that used to come from Pennsylvania to Atlantic City is staying home.’’


Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com