Mississippi gaming revenue

Dusk envelopes the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians' trademark globe atop the Golden Moon Casino and Hotel, Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in Philadelphia, Miss. 

(The Center Square) – Bolstered by record demand in several regions, gaming revenues in Mississippi are outpacing prepandemic figures, recent data from a state agency reveals.

According to yearly figures from the Mississippi Department of Revenue, gaming tax revenues clocked in at $310.59 million in fiscal year 2022, which wrapped in June.

The figure is upward momentum from the $283.08 million in gaming taxes collected in 2021, following the pandemic-laden 2020 dip of $215.55 million in taxes.

Prepandemic, Mississippi raked in $260.17 million in gaming taxes in 2019 and $249.15 million in 2018.

Several reasons have been attributed to the gaming revenue spike in recent years, including strong tourism in the Gulf Coast, where Mississippi’s casino resorts have performed strong financially since the heaviest COVID-19 lockdowns.

Scott Waller, president and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council, weighed in on the recent trends in the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association’s annual report.

“Mississippi’s gaming industry continues to serve as a catalyst for driving Mississippi’s economy and creating avenues for boosting tourism in our state,” Waller wrote in the report.

Waller in his write-up also touched on the gaming industry’s ability to weather challenges brought on by the pandemic.

“While COVID-19 presented unforeseen challenges for Mississippi’s gaming market, it was an opportunity to double down and demonstrate the industry’s value in providing meaningful careers, growing tax revenue for the state and in being a desirable destination for tourists,” Waller said in the statement.

While there has been celebration within Mississippi’s gaming industry for the notable income gains, attention toward future economic opportunities has also been a talking point.

In the most recent legislative session, there was an effort to reintroduce legalized mobile sports betting. Senate Bill 2462, however, did not advance outside committee and never went for a floor vote.

In the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association’s most recent report, Chairman Anthony Del Vescovo called on state officials to add mobile sports betting to the list of gaming options. In-person sports betting was recently legalized.

“With Gulf Coast casinos smashing records, and many other regions across our state reporting huge gross gaming revenue increases … Mississippi has a strong hold as a leader in the gaming market,” Del Vescovo said.

“However, there’s an enormous opportunity to expand our offerings, keep significant tax dollars in our state where they belong and generate more jobs with statewide mobile sports betting,” Del Vescovo said. “Our neighboring states are taking advantage, and we should direct the money back home.”