The economy is awful. Casino revenues are down. So as many of you know, some of the area's casinos slashed jobs. Immediately, the rumor mill kicked into high gear.
Stop gossiping. Don't believe what you're hearing. Anybody who says Harrah's is going to shut down Grand Biloxi is wrong. The speculation about Hard Rock Biloxi closing its resort is ridiculous. Beau Rivage isn't going anywhere. Neither is the IP, the Palace, the Isle, Boomtown, Treasure Bay, Island View, Hollywood, or the Silver Slipper.
The head of the Mississippi Gaming Commission is Larry Gregory. And he's always been a straight shooter with me. When I talked with him recently about whether any casinos were in trouble of closing, he said, "No, we're not there. I don't think we're anywhere near shutdowns."
He pointed out that gaming regulators keep close tabs on Mississippi's casinos and their books.
"There are things we do to make sure there are no financial hardships on casinos."
Before you try to link the Choctaw's decision to restrict its hours at the Golden Moon resort to any shutdown talk, remember this key point. The Choctaws run two casinos in Neshoba County. So, while the Golden Moon slashed 570 jobs, and management decided to open it just three days a week, the Silver Star across the street remains a 24/7 operation.
"Silver Star was and continues to be a strong business," chief executive Paul Harvey told the media.
However, he said, "To have two casinos with 5,000 gaming machines is probably not realistic and we are studying that right now."
There's a lot of studying going on right now. Every CEO associated with a Mississippi casino is analyzing trends, and searching for new business. Yes, it's true, these are lean times in the casino industry. But right now, all 11 coast casinos expect to remain open.