Vendors Want More Casino Cash

Mississippi casinos do business with 30,000 vendors and suppliers. According to the Mississippi Gaming Association, just 10 percent of those businesses are in this state.

One of them is owned by Clell Rosetti. He sells poultry and seafood to just about every casino in Biloxi, Gulfport, Bay St. Louis, and Philadelphia, Mississippi.

"Ten years ago, we made a living," he remembered. "Today we're making money."

And that's helped everybody at his Caillavet Street warehouse.

"We employ 23 people. Ten years ago, I had six people working for me," he said.

Rosetti's loading dock stays busy because casinos constantly place orders and buy his products. Now, the Mississippi Gaming Commission wants to see just how many other vendors around the state are filling casino orders.

Len Blackwell is chairman of the commission.

"It's good for the state because the money stays in the state," he said, referring to the new plan to scrutinize spending practices at Mississippi casinos.

"And I think it's good generally for the people of Mississippi because the local businesses are going to hopefully gear up and try to do business with the casino community."

Later this month, the gaming commission will start analyzing quarterly reports from every property, to see where Mississippi casinos are spending their money. Clell Rosetti said he supports the regulatory scrutiny, because it could help him fight off out-of-state competition.

According to the Mississippi Gaming Association, state casinos spend roughly a billion dollars a year on goods and services. Half that money goes to Mississippi vendors.