Hancock County casinos prepared to weather the economic storm

By Al Showers - bio | email

BAY ST LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Judging from the number of cars in the parking lot, it's hard to believe business is not booming, but revenues at casinos state-wide are down.

Hollywood Casino's Public Relations Manager Bob Davidge said, "You're going to have good months, and you're going to have not so good months."

Davidage knows his Casino is competing for every dollar in these tough economic times, and it's the same story across town at the Silver Slipper Casino.

"Our business is down from last year's levels, not a staggering number, but certainly it's off," said Silver Slipper Casino General manager John Ferrucci. "We're seeing fewer people, and the people who are coming are spending fewer dollars."

Ferrucci says the casinos have to find a way to give customers more for their money.

"So you come up with a way where you can put additional free play in their hands, or you give them a discount on the buffet, things that are bringing them here in the first place," Ferrucci said.

And while the customers from far away may be fewer, Coast Casino Execs say South Mississippi is still convenient entertainment.

"You remember a year ago gas cost twice as much which kind of ended up helping us back then because people started practicing what we call 'stay-cations.' Instead of vacations, they stayed in the area," Davidge said.

Both execs say despite tough times, they believe the industry will survive.

"We're going to be able to weather this storm," Ferrucci said.

Casinos in neighboring Louisiana are also feeling the economic pitch. Revenues dropped 7.1 percent there from March to April. Casinos in Nevada and New Jersey are experiencing double digit decreases.

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