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Affects of Casino Closure Ripple Through Community

By Daniel Cherry | Published 01 May 2011 03:30pm | comments
Rising water at Tunica casinos

The last of the casinos in Tunica are now closed due to rising floodwaters on the Mississippi River. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports on the affects the closures will have on the community and the state.

Flyers left in hotels remind guests the casino floor closes at 3am...checkout at 11. No Exceptions. Off the resort in downtown Tunica businesses are worried what lies ahead during the closure. At the Tunica Pharmacy employee Mary Goff says they're dependant on the employees at the resort.

"That's going to be a problem. I mean some of us could lose our jobs. If they're not working they're not going to have insurance. If you lose all those people as customers there's just no way you can stay afloat."

There are about ten thousand employees at the Tunica resorts who will be out of work for an estimated four to six weeks. Larry Gregory is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission. He says this scenario is likely to play out all down the river.

"We're looking at Coahoma County which has the Isle of Capri in Lula. We have a couple casinos in Greenville. We have about four casinos down in Vicksburg and of course Natchez. I would suspect that as the river stages moving down river we will be commencing closing orders for those particular casinos also."

Casinos have emergency plans in place. Engineers can detach the casino from the pylons in the river. It will then be able to float with the rising water. Valerie Morris Regional Vice President with Ceasar's Entertainment says it's never had to be done before.

"It's for basically the safety of the barge and to protect the assets. These nine casinos the water level has never risen high enough to have to be done so this is unprecedented. Let's hope it works."

During the closures the state stands to miss out on around seven million dollars in gaming taxes from Tunica alone. If the closures spread down the river that number could become much higher. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.

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Rising water at Tunica casinos


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