Coast Casinos Hit Winning Historical Mark - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/18/04

Coast Casinos Hit Winning Historical Mark

According to the latest numbers, more and more people are looking for the glitz, glamour, and good service the 12 casinos of South Mississippi have to offer.

In just five months, more than $500 million poured into the coast casino industry, making financial history.

"The economy has come around this year. We had a much better snowbird season. And the general economy has also come around. But we have to keep in mind, that last year we went to war in March, and that impacted those numbers. When there's a national event of such a magnitude, people stay home and watch their television. They don't go out to the casinos," said Biloxi Grand Casino General Manager Duncan McKenzie.

But the people are coming out now, and not only does it have a positive effect on the gaming industry, it positively affects the community as well.

"I think that when you have your gaming revenues up, that means the industry has to expand, tourism has to expand , there's more jobs, there's more money flowing through the economy, and I think that things are really looking brighter here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said Peoples Bank President Chevis Swetman.

"I think all the casinos are just doing a better job of marketing to their individual customers and with the individual improvements that the properties have made, I think the customers are finding value in our destination," said Gulfport Grand Casino General Manager Bill Wright.

Casino executives say their only concern is how the price of gas will affect casino-goers.

By Karla Redditte

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