Biloxi sales tax, casino revenue reach record highs
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - From sales tax to casino revenue, it was a historic year for the City of Biloxi.
“We had a record year in the middle of the pandemic,” Mayor Andrew “Fofo” Gilich told WLOX.
New numbers out Wednesday show a record-breaking $13.8 million collected in sales tax from January to December.
That’s nearly 24% higher than reported in 2020.
“This transformation took place,” Gilich said. “Biloxi is a hybrid market. It’s sort of a convenient regional market with top-notch, world-class amenities.”
Its major amenity, gaming, also reached new heights.
That is now the highest total since the local industry was legalized in 1992.
The successful year also boosted neighboring businesses like shops and restaurants.
“You can only be inside a casino three or four hours a day gambling, so you need other things to do the rest of the, you know, 20 or so hours,” Gilich said. “And that’s why we’re here.”
Next door to Treasure Bay Casino on Highway 90 is Souvenir City, which witnessed the rush.
“We had a lot of business,” store manager Christina Williamson said. “In six years that I’ve been here, last year was one of the best I personally have ever seen.”
Taxes on sales and gaming typically account for two-thirds of the City’s annual operating revenue, followed by property taxes.
“It actually helps out being next to a casino because you go to a casino, you come right on over and do your souvenir shopping right afterwards,” Williamson said. “So it works out.”
Beau Rivage President and COO Brandon Dardeau points to the pandemic for last year’s high volume.
“People look for other forms of entertainment, and gaming was one,” he said. “We have heard loud and clear that, you know, a lot of customers have discovered Mississippi as a gaming choice if you will.”
According to a press release from the city, Biloxi’s previous record for gaming revenue was reported in 2007 when the industry generated $1.006 billion.
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