It’s a double dose of positive news for the South Mississippi’s casino industry. Site work has begun on a casino south of U.S. 90 at Island View Casino Resort in Gulfport, and Coast casinos posted their best April casino revenue since 2007.
Rick Carter and Terry Green, friends since grade school in Gulfport, own Island View Casino. Carter said last year they plan to invest about $75 million in the new casino. They got permission in July from the Mississippi State Port Authority Commission to build the casino across U.S. 90 from their first casino, adjacent to the $58 million hotel tower that opened in 2015.
After a slow start to the year, the 12 Coast casinos combined for $99.2 million in gross casino revenue in April, a $5 million increase from a year ago, when revenue was $94.3 million.
In April 2007, with emergency workers and volunteers still on the Coast repairing the damage from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, the casinos had revenue of $107 million.
This year’s April revenue is just below pre-Katrina numbers, coming in $1.5 million less than in April 2004. Revenue then was $100.7 million, four months before Katrina hit and closed every casino for months. Some of those casinos never reopened.
Coast casinos have nearly made up for their low January and February numbers, when revenues were $11 million behind last year. Mississippi Department of Revenue reports show the casinos in March and April topped last year’s revenue by $8.6 million, narrowing the deficit by $2.5 million. For the first four months of the year, revenue stands at $403.6 million, compared with $406.1 million a year ago.
The river casinos saw revenue drop in April after being up slightly in March. They posted $75.5 million in revenue compared with $82.2 in April 2016.
State revenue fell by 1.3 percent in April to $174.7 million from $177.1 million last year.