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Mississippi River Flooding Forces Closure of Tunica Casinos

By Daniel Cherry | Published 01 May 2011 03:24pm | comments

Casinos in Tunica are shutting their doors due to a swelling Mississippi River. MPB’s Daniel Cherry reports how that closure could affect the rest of the state.

Gaming officials fear the Mississippi River will reach its highest point in decades and casinos are closing on a staggered schedule through Monday. Webster Franklin is the President of the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau. He says they expect them to be closed four to six weeks.

“One month of gaming revenue is equal to about seven million dollars per month to the general fund. Another 3.5 million to the local Tunica County government. So you’re going to have over ten million just in gaming taxes alone that we’ve lost.”

The gaming operation in Tunica employs nearly ten thousand employees. The majority of those will be out of work until casinos reopen. Lori Huffstutler works at Harrah’s casino. She was shocked at first, but soon the casino announced they plan pay employees for at least two weeks during the closure.

“I think it enters everyone’s mind because it is your lifeblood, but they came back very quickly to let us know this so it was great to know that this is one less thing we have to worry about.”

Jessie Snider comes regularly to play poker. He says the internet poker crackdown and the closures have got him worried.

“As a poker player I have no place else to play. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for the next few weeks. I might take a trip to go play poker someplace else.”

Officials say they expect the river to crest at 45 feet, but if it goes higher the casinos could suffer major damage. Reporting from Tunica, Daniel Cherry…MPB News.

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