As Hurricane Sally passed through Mississippi while ravaging Florida and Alabama, all casinos along the Gulf Coast were ordered to close their doors until the emergency weather cleared out. While severe weather had a significant impact on August casino revenue, several other factors contributed to substantial losses.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) announced on Wednesday that the 12 casinos in the eastern part of the state may resume their gambling operations as usual after halting on Monday. Hurricane Sally has dissipated to the east, meaning that there was no danger for customers who wished to visit casinos in Mississippi.
Unfortunately, some casinos did see damages to their property due to the hurricane. Notably, Palace Casino Resort in Biloxi could not escape the bad weather, which flooded the parking deck.
Two riverboat casinos from Bayou La Batre, Ala., suffered a much worse fate. They floated free from their moorings on Tuesday during Sally’s rampage in the region.
The state of Mississippi braced for unstable weather during August and September, and to some extent, were able to cut their losses. For example, the reported revenue for August 2020 for all 26 casinos was $179.4 million, up $7.5 million from a year ago. However, the revenue was also down compared to July 2020, when there was no fear of inclement weather, and when casinos earned $195 million.
Three Casino Regions See Decline
The decline was reported in all three casino regions, with significant drops from July to August. However, the coastal region was the one that suffered the biggest hit, with a $9.5 million month-on-month decrease between July and August.
Year-to-date revenue reported is $1.08 billion compared to $1.47 billion from the same period in 2019. However, in addition to the recent hurricanes, casinos were also ordered to shut down their doors in March after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. They were closed during April and reopened their doors mid-May.
Brighter Days Ahead
Legal sports betting options in Mississippi are almost entirely land-based. Sportsbooks reported revenue of $3.75 million for August, which is around $1 million more than August 2019. The difference is even bigger for the betting handle, which was $40.5 million in August 2020, twice as much as last year. In other words, it’s safe to conclude that sports betting is gaining popularity in Mississippi. Moreover, the hold was 14.5% in August 2019, as opposed to 9.26% in August 2020. Sports betting revenue was also higher in August compared to July, when $1.3 million in revenue was reported.
The resumption of professional sports and the onset of collegiate athletics are the biggest contributing factors. The betting handle quadrupled month-to-month, as the return of professional baseball, basketball, and hockey took place in August.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission issues reports regularly, where you can check out more data about revenue, tax revenue, sports wagering hold and win percentage, and more. Visit the official website of the commission for the latest reports.
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