Page 6 - MGHA Annual Report, 2022
P. 6

   Rollin’ on the (Pearl) River
Mississippi Sen. John Horhn filed SB 2395, a bill to authorize gaming on the Pearl River in the city of Jackson. It also died in committee.
Not Just the Lone Ranger
While COVID-19 raged throughout the United States, the Mississippi Gaming Commission, like others, instituted
a mask mandate and social distancing requirements, including an occupancy limit of 50%. These restrictions remained in place until lifted effective April 30, 2021. Some casinos continued mask mandates despite there being no statewide government-imposed mandate.
“Locally Mobile” Sports Wagering
In the fall of
2021, Gold Strike Casino, and then
its sister property, Beau Rivage, in partnership with BetMGM, began offering mobile
sports wagering
limited to each
of the casino properties, not off-site.
Sand Beach Tug-of-War
For years, RW Development has attempted to build a casino at its location on Veterans Avenue in Biloxi. Several times, the Mississippi Gaming Commission has ruled that the construction of a casino on the site is illegal because the site does not have access to the mean high-water line due
to the state-owned sand beach. The Mississippi Supreme Court has affirmed the commission’s actions. In 2021, the City of Biloxi and Harrison County sought to lease the sand beach to RW for development of a pier. The Secretary of State sued, asserting it has sole control of the sand beach. While a Chancery Court has ruled in favor of the city
and county, the Secretary of State has appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Breaking Records
Despite the pandemic, Mississippi casinos were on pace in 2021 to exceed $2.6 billion in revenue, a mark not met in a long time. Coast casinos recorded some of their biggest months ever.
Cruisin’ to Silver
Cruisin’ the Coast celebrated its silver anniversary with record attendance during the October 2021 event.
Help Wanted
Mississippi casinos, like other businesses, struggled to fill vacant job positions, even when offering increased pay, signing bonuses, and other benefits. Stimulus money, COVID-19, and employee compensation were often cited as reasons for the worker shortage.
Border Issues
In 2021, the biggest news for the Mississippi gaming industry perhaps lies across the borders in adjacent states. From the potential for moving a casino license from Shreveport to Slidell in Louisiana to sports wagering in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee, and looming competition in Alabama, risks and challenges abound.
Goodbye, Hello
Newly appointed Gaming Commissioner Francis Lee (right) replaced Commissioner Jerry Griffith, and longtime Commission Executive Director Allen Godfrey retired. The commission named Deputy Director Jay McDaniel as the new executive director.

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