BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Southern Gaming Summit brings industry insiders to the coast to talk about issues impacting casinos and the business of gaming.
Casino operators and analysts are meeting at Beau Rivage to also get a look at some of the latest trends.
The newest technology in the gaming industry is on full display. Important issues affecting casinos are being discussed by experts who study new laws and regulations.
With gambling now legal in so many states the Southern Gaming Summit attracts people from around the country. For local casino operators, that means it's a golden opportunity to show people how far the coast has come in terms of being a player in gaming.
"I always get a kick out of people who come here for the first time. We always exceed what they expect to see. They expect to come here and see riverboat gambling and they see beautiful casinos and facilities and wonderful restaurants," said Duncan McKenzie, General Manager of IP Casino.
The gaming industry is so closely tied to tourism. It's all about attracting visitors and creating a destination environment.
"People want to visit a destination and the destination has to be strong and diversified. The gaming industry is important to being a successful destination," according to Milton Segarra, CEO of Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast.
When Mississippi first legalized gaming 26 years ago, Marlin Torguson was a pioneer, who brought Casino Magic to Bay St. Louis.
At that time, just a handful of states were in the casino business. Today, more than 40 states offer some kind of legal gambling.
Torguson sat in on a discussion about the effort to bring gaming to Georgia. Atlanta, one of the largest markets in the country, could have three or four casinos.
That would create significant competition in the southeast. Torguson says the Coast needs to continue to evolve. "I think we need a lot more non gaming items and properties with more non gaming things to do and we definitely need more air service," he explained.
The Summit ends Thursday night with a ceremony to induct several prominent people into the Mississippi Gaming Hall of Fame.