Page 8 - Mississippi/Louisiana Gaming News - Summer, 2024
P. 8

MGHA report keeps Legislature updated
By David Grisham
MISSISSIPPI — The Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association (MGHA) presented its annual report to the Mississippi Legislature recently. The gaming and hospitality industry is a significant contributor to Mississippi’s economy, and the annual report provides insights into the industry’s economic impact, including its contribution to tourism, job creation, and tax revenue generation.
The presentation of the annual report to the Legislature offered an opportunity for policymakers to evaluate existing regulations and consider potential policy changes.
“It is vital that the Mississippi Legislature knows as much as it can about an industry that provides so much to our state,” said Larry Gregory, executive director of the MGHA. “The MGHA Annual Report does just that. Legislators should be mindful that we are a major contributor of tax dollars to our state’s general fund and that we provide over 16,000 direct jobs.”
Gregory said legislators have come to rely on the report to help in assessing
the industry’s overall health and its role in supporting local economies. “The Mississippi Legislature wants to know how it can assist the gaming industry to have continued success in the years to come for our state.”
Lawmakers can use the data provided in the report to ensure success by taking steps to enhance industry competitiveness,
identify areas
for improvement,
address emerging
and guarantee
responsible gaming
Penny Bankston,
chair of the MGHA,
in recent remarks
to Mississippi’s state
legislature following the
release of the annual
report, talked about the
performance of casinos
in the Magnolia State.
vibrant casinos generated a staggering over $2.5 billion in gaming revenue in 2023,” she said. “This marks the third consecutive year surpassing this monumental benchmark, solidifying gaming as a cornerstone of Mississippi’s tourism industry and a powerful economic engine propelling our state forward. The Gulf Coast region, in particular,
experienced a significant increase in revenue. In fact,
in a USA today’s readers’ poll, Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos ranked in the top 10 casino hotel resorts in the United States.”
In 2023, the Mississippi
Gulf Coast was the fifth largest gaming market in the United States, following the Las Vegas Strip, Atlantic City, Chicagoland and the Baltimore/Washington D.C. market, according to the American Gaming Association. The Memphis market, which includes Southland Casino and Tunica, was the 15th largest.
Gregory said the general managers at Mississippi’s casinos are a big reason for the success of gaming in the state, so it was fitting that they be front and center
MGHA Chair Penny Bankston, vice president and general manager of Vicksburg’s WaterView Casino Hotel, provided details from the MGHA Annual Report to the Mississippi Legislature during the 2024 legislative session. She emphasized the importance of gaming to tourism, jobs and the economy.
 in the annual report. “We
couldn’t be one of the top
gaming jurisdictions in the
country without leadership,”
he explained. “The front cover of our annual report provides a photo of all our GMs in the state. They are responsible for the day-to- day operations of their casinos. They are the
impacting the lives and well-being of our valued employees.”
The success of the gaming industry is being experienced not only here, but across the United States. Last year was another record- breaker for the gaming industry. Nationwide, commercial gaming revenue reached $66.5 billion in 2023, marking the third consecutive year of record revenue, and gaming revenue in Mississippi, although not a record-breaker, continued to better pre-pandemic levels.
The record results, which surpassed 2022’s previous high of $60.5 billion by 10 percent, were reported in the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. The year was punctuated by all-time high quarterly revenue of $17.2 billion in Q4 2023, and anchored by $6.2 billion in revenue in December, the highest grossing month in industry history according to the AGA.
“From the traditional casino experience
to online options, American adults’ demand for gaming is at an all-time high,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “Sustaining our momentum will take unified industry efforts around combating pernicious illegal operators and growing responsible gambling efforts in tandem with the growth of the legal market — both of which the AGA is committed to lead on throughout 2024.”
reason our industry has been so successful. They truly are
the face of gaming.” Bankston, who in addition
to being the MGHA chair is vice president and general
manager of WaterView Casino Hotel in Vicksburg, stressed the importance of the gaming industry to
the state in her address, saying, “Overall in
2023, Mississippi’s 26 commercial
casinos operated over 21,000 slot
machines, nearly 700 table games, 62 poker tables, and more than 10,000 hotel rooms. This success story
is fueled by the dedication of over 16,000 Mississippians employed directly by the industry. Gaming remains one of our star attractions, contributing significantly to our state’s thriving tourism sector, the fourth largest in the state. In 2023 alone, casinos generously contributed $658 million in wages and over $200 million in benefits, directly

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