Mississippi casinos felt the effects of the sluggish economy and the terrorist attacks last month as gross revenue fell 2½ percent. Mississippi's 30 state-regulated casinos took in $218.4 million in October, compared with $212.9 million in the year-ago period, according to figures from the Mississippi State Tax Commission. The dozen casinos on the coast reported $90.6 million in gross revenue for the month, 3 percent less than last October.
The remaining casinos along the Mississippi River had $122.2 million in revenue, down some 2½ percent from October 2000. Play at Mississippi's casinos was off significantly the week after the Sept. 11 attacks, but customers began returning in healthy numbers soon after. One big factor helping gambling houses in Mississippi is that most patrons live within a few hundred miles and travel by auto. ``I think a combination of the general economy and people afraid to travel have affected us some, but we haven't been hurt nearly as badly as Las Vegas,'' said Brian Richard, senior research analyst with the Mississippi Gaming Association. ``This is sort of a downtime in general for the industry,'' Richard said. The attacks, the fighting in Afghanistan and the anthrax scares have taken a heavy toll on the gambling industry nationwide.