Biloxi mayor A.J. Holloway still thinks as many as 20 casinos will eventually operate in his city. Holloway was on a Southern Gaming Summit panel to gave a status report on how his city's casino industry has fared since Katarina.
The mayor told gaming summit delegates that a post Katrina change in the gaming law buoyed Biloxi's economic recovery.
"Biloxi is the engine," the mayor said, "and the fuel is the 800-foot onshore gaming legislation passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor."
Holloway noted that casino developers have acquired more than 125 acres of land -- mostly in east Biloxi -- for future expansion plans.
"Biloxi's industry is hospitality and entertainment," Mayor Holloway said. "And for us to continue to survive and thrive, we're going to have to have that."
Biloxi currently has seven casinos. "I feel pretty confident that we'll have 18-20 casinos in 10 years," the mayor said.
Since the hurricane, the returning casinos have grossed about $74 million a month. That translates into about eight million dollars a month in taxes.
And more tax revenue may be on the way. Next week, Harrah's unveils its expansion plans for Grand Casino Biloxi. And in July, Hard Rock opens in downtown Biloxi.
"We're doing a tremendous amount of revenue above pre-Katrina right now. I think it's just a sign of how strong the market is in Biloxi," said Holloway.