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Gaming Summit Brings Industry Leaders to Mississippi Coast

By Rhonda Miller | Published 08 May 2012 07:48pm | comments

The Southern Gaming Summit at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum this week is expected to draw more than 2,000 people.  MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports industry professionals are hoping for a jackpot year.  

Charles Anderder, executive editor of Casino Journal, a national gaming magazine, says casino revenues are up across the country for the first quarter of this year. While industry leaders in Mississippi are pumped up about the opening of Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville casino later this month, Anderer says continuing effort will be needed for gaming on the Gulf Coast. 

" It's lagging slightly behind the national averages, in terms of the revenue growth. In terms of Margaritaville, people in gaming always expect new projects will grow the market. It’s not clear that’s always borne out."

Executive Director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, Beth Carriere, has a positive outlook on gaming.

"We see a difference in the investors that are coming in, within the last,  I’d say eight to six months. People who are re-buying or investing in some of the existing casinos are larger companies that have a longer history in gaming."

While there is considerable interest in casinos on the coast, Anderer says Tunica needs to find new ways to support gaming.  

"Still a huge market, relatively speaking, an important market. It’s 30 percent off its highs, but it has a lot to work with. There’s been a lot of growth south of Memphis, in DeSoto county. The challenge is to give people more of a reason to go to Tunica than just the casinos, and they’re working on that."

The gaming summit runs through Thursday. 









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