Mississippi celebrated 25 years of casino gambling in 2017. Many events were held to commemorate the anniversary. Many success stories were noted , including the $53 billion in revenues generated by Mississippi casinos, the 40,000 employees, and the 11 jackpots of more than $5 million and 24 of more than $2 million won. Casinos have paid more than $6 billion in taxes on revenues, and hundreds of millions more in property tax, sales tax, wage tax and use taxes. Schools bought computers for all the classrooms when the casino revenue started coming in, and many cities used the proceeds to buy new fire trucks and police cruisers. The cities, school districts and first responders all benefitted from the casinos. Airport traffic in Biloxi has increased from 4,000 flights per year to over 15,000 annually. 25 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Gulf Coast Casinos, The Sun Herald, July 30, 2017.
“When you look at our regional economy, we see gaming is the glue that holds the economy together, and it contributes to the new dollars coming across our borders”, said Ashley Edwards, President of the Gulf Coast Business Council. “We have a regional economy on the Gulf Coast and there’s absolutely no doubt that gaming is the forefront of our economy. The goal has been bringing new dollars into our region, and gaming has been the catalyst.”
“The Mississippi Gulf Coast is really a shining star in the gaming industry,” said Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association, “Mississippi has a story to tell, about job creation, investment in local communities, and so many other great aspects of this industry.”
“People were afraid of the negative effects when casinos came here,” according to Richard Bennett, chairman of the Mississippi House of Representatives Gaming Committee, “but crime actually went down in Biloxi and Harrison County. We had the money to train officers and had better equipment.” Mississippi Marks 25 Years of Gaming, Now Looks Ahead, CDC Gaming Reports, August 3, 2017.