Mississippi’s coastal region has woken up after the Hurricane Sally hit on Monday and forced the 12 casinos into a temporary shutdown. The Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) allowed all casinos to restart at 1 pm on Wednesday, after the storm missed the casinos and headed for Gulf Shores, Alabama.
South Mississippi managed to escape the storm with little to no damage to property. The Palace Casino Resort in Biloxi reported floods, but nothing too serious overall. However, in Alabama, casinos haven’t been so lucky.
Two riverboat casinos under construction were loosened free from their moorings causing damage to the dock. Guests have not waited long for the hurricane to clear, though and as early as Wednesday, guests started returning to the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, and all other properties.
Safety measures and health protocols remain the same in the COVID-19 pandemic environment with obligatory face masks and reduced capacity.
Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, though, took until 10 am on Thursday to restart operations due to removing flood water and small debris from the casino floor.
The Long to Recovery Past 2020, Says CEO LuAnn Pappas
With the casino industry suffering another hiccup, Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort CEO LuAnn Pappas said that the industry couldn’t wait for the year to be over. Any recovery, he said, would most likely occur in 2021.
Pappas meant the fallout from the COVID-19 lockdown, lack of visitors, and other restrictions that have been imposed on the casino industry. Casino resorts in the state have been shaky to say at best.
In August, the Mississippi Gaming Commission said that the 26 commercial casinos in the state collected $179.4 million, or still lower than July. This is somewhat disturbing as Mississippi is one of the main markets for casino gaming in the country.
According to the American Gaming Association, in 2019, the state generated $2.2 billion in gaming revenue, but the real economic impact was double that amount at $4.41 billion.
How about Mississippi’s Growing Sports Betting Market?
Sports betting handle hit a rather solid $40.5 million in August, or a 50% increase year-over-year. By all means, the market has been improving and that has had to do with the return of many sports competitions and leagues, including MLB, NFL, and NBA.
That is despite the fact that betting on sports as an activity in Mississippi is only allowed in person at licensed venues. Sports betting revenue soared to $3.75 million in august compared to just $1.3 million in July. This is good news for the state, too, as Mississippi needs the additional tax revenue generated by sports betting and gambling operations in the state.
With the NFL season back and in full swing, and collegiate sports promising a return, Mississippi’s sports betting handle has nowhere but up to go.