Biloxi hosts Southern Gaming Summit - - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi hosts Southern Gaming Summit

The Southern Gaming Summit continues through Thursday at the Coast Coliseum convention center. (Photo source: WLOX) The Southern Gaming Summit continues through Thursday at the Coast Coliseum convention center. (Photo source: WLOX)

Casino executives from across the country are in Biloxi, attending the annual Southern Gaming Summit at the Coliseum Convention Center.

Hard Rock is certainly one of the most recognized brands in the casino and entertainment industries. The leader of the worldwide empire came from humble beginnings.

James Allen worked as a line cook at a Bally's property in Atlantic City in 1979. These days, he heads one of the most successful casino groups ever.

“If we focus on the basics, I am very sure the gaming industry here in the southern part of the United States, and obviously throughout the world, will continue to grow and we should be in great shape,” Allen told the group of casino executives and industry leaders.

He singled out Beau Rivage as the leader in the Mississippi market, with good reason.

“And while I think they do an amazing job and the building and all those things are wonderful, but I don't think anyone could dispute the reason why they are the leader in this particular market is because Steve Wynn built a hell of a product,” Allen said.

As for the larger market in Mississippi, stability is the word.

“And the Gulfport, Biloxi, Tunica markets, you know still around that billion, billion two or so. Up a couple points, backwards a couple points. You know there is some stability. And the question is, how do we keep customers interested in the entertainment that goes with gaming.”

Allen says the gaming industry is ever-evolving. With the aging of America, the over 65 crowd will be larger than ever. But, the next generation is also on the industry radar.

Holding up an iPhone, he told the crowd, “Somebody right now that's five or six or 10 or 12, that knows how to navigate this, for the purpose of entertainment, you know that individual, we're going to need to continue to study.”

The executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission says the industry on the coast, remains promising.

“The Mississippi gulf coast has some tremendous properties. They continue to reinvest in their properties. And you know, you can travel all over the country and you won't find any nicer hotels, restaurants than you will down here,” said Allen Godfrey.

James Allen also talked about his eight and a half years with the Trump organization in Atlantic City, telling the crowd, "We thought Mr. Trump had more money than God."                                        

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