Page 4 - Mississippi / Louisiana Gaming News - February, 2016
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Guest Editorial
MGHA sees growth, goals realized in 2015
Of cial Newsmagazine of the Mississippi & Louisiana Gaming Industries
FEBRUARY 2016 Volume XIII Issue 6
W. Michael Sunderman
Lori Beth Susman
General Manager / Executive Editor
Mary Sunderman
Associate Publisher
David Grisham
Contributing Editor
Michael Haynes
Business Manager
Brian Treadaway Tim Wall Missy Mitchell
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Copyright, 2016
Mississippi/Louisiana Gaming News (MSLAGN) is owned and published by M2 Media Corp., 12268 Intraplex Parkway, Gulfport, MS 39503. MSLAGN is produced in cooperation with the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association and the Louisiana Casino Association. The contents of MSLAGN are copyright- ed. All rights are reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permis- sion of the publisher is strictly prohibited.
By Susan Varnes
I  nd it hard to believe that two years have passed since I accepted the position of Chair of
the Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association. Honestly, when I was  rst asked if I would be willing to serve, my initial reaction was to question if I had
Susan Varnes
association stronger and more effective.
These relationships and partnerships have shown us that there is much common ground and that we can mobilize effectively to support joint causes that are bene cial to the communities in which we operate as well as the entire state.
Having worked in the gaming industry for
the appropriate time to
dedicate to the job. But
similar to all important and worthwhile ventures, I was able to  nd the time, and am grateful for the opportunity to serve. I have learned more than I have taught and have been enriched by the experience — it has indeed been a worthwhile two years.
I am fortunate to work with an incredible group of individuals at Treasure Bay who supported me
in accepting the position, stepped
in whenever possible to assist the association and frequently joined me as industry ambassadors themselves. I was also fortunate to have a great group of of cers at MGHA who agreed to serve alongside me. With hard work and a focus on the tasks at hand, there was time to build new relationships and forge new alliances. We certainly had our share of fun and camaraderie along the way and worked with Larry Gregory and Mike Bruffey, our executive director and deputy director, to achieve many goals and overcome several challenges that faced the industry.
One of our  rst goals achieved was 100 percent membership in the MGHA by all commercial casinos throughout Mississippi. Having a uni ed association has not only been powerful, it has allowed us to achieve many of our other goals. We built relationships and forged partnerships with state agencies such as MDA’s tourism of ce and other like-minded associations, including the Mississippi Tourism Association and Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association — all of which make our
nearly 25 years and having had the opportunity to work in all three regions of Mississippi since  rst moving to the state more than 20 years ago, I have formed many friendships and bonds. Much is made of the competitive nature of casino operators, but what is not widely known is the spirit of partnership shared among the operators. Whether it is a charity kickball, softball or a slot tournament, a fundraising cocktail party, a tourism event or just the ability to pick up the phone and call on one another to borrow supplies or equipment, it makes me very proud to be part of our gaming community in this state, and I look to the future with hope and con dence that our gaming community will continue to grow and prosper.
The gaming revenue numbers have been well reported. The overall growth for our state is something to be proud of given the  erce competition throughout the nation, and particularly the southern region of the country. The coast showed the most revenue growth, welcoming
a new operator at the end of 2015, while the central region continues to maintain its solid grasp on market
share year over year. The Tunica market showed a reduction of approximately
6 percent gaming revenue, and by the end of 2015, had seen a decrease
in both gaming positions and hotel rooms. However, Tunica operators were successful in retaining the majority of the revenue and tourism in the market
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