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Tunica casinos expected to grow 30% in 2010

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March 16, 2010

JACKSON, MS - A Harrah's official told state legislators Thursday he expects gaming in Tunica County to grow 30% in 2010. Scott Barber, Mid-South regional president for Harrah's Entertainment, said after a meeting with senators and members of the House Gaming Committee, he predicted Tunica gaming would lead Mississippi out of its worse gaming slump since 1999.

"Our sales group and convention business should be up 30 percent over last year, but last year was a low-water mark. We fell off the map,"

"So, I think that even with that 30 percent added to this year's numbers, we still wouldn't be where we were in '07 and '08."

State gaming revenues in 2009 were reported as $2.46 billion, which is less than 2008 revenues of $2.71 billion and well below $2.89 billion in 2007.
This is according to Mississippi Casino Operators Association's State of the State Annual Report.

The chairman of the association, Jon Lucas, wrote in the report: "As we close 2009, most would agree that saying goodbye to last year would be too kind and that 'good riddance' is more in order".

"To say it was a difficult year for the economy as a whole and for the tourism industry in particular would be a true understatement."

Mississippi has 30 casinos across three regions -- North River, South River and the Gulf Coast. Their taxes and fees account for about 4 percent of the state's general fund.

Tunica County and Coahoma County are in the North River Region and have 10 casinos with 5,271 hotel rooms and 10,700 employees.

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