times are tough and then more competitors appear

Oasis Hotel.jpgThe Oasis Hotel has opened at VictoryLand in Shorter, Ala. VictoryLand does not hide that it is trying to offer its customers the casino experience sans the table games. Signs inside and out point the way to the ‘ casino.’ There are 6,400 machines, making it the largest bingo facility in the world, Gaming Director Stanley M. Hubbard said. (The Birmingham News / Mark Almond)

Mississippi is the latest and last of the major U. S. jurisdictions to report gaming revenues for the month of November.  Like most of the other states Mississippi is reporting lower revenues, the lowest since the casinos were closed because of Katrina.  The economy is certainly at fault, as it was everywhere, but it is not the only factor.

Alabama is both a neighboring state and a corridor for people from Georgia and Florida to get to the Mississippi casinos. Gambling not legal in Alabama, but for quite awhile there has been a debate over what is legal and what is not; some claim a bingo slot-like machine is legal, the state says not; but there are operators who have survived so far by offering those games.  Survive is not exactly an accurate term as the properties are very close to being resorts and increasingly have been capable of side tracking gamblers on their way to Mississippi.  Competition may have been an underlying theme in all of 2009, but it has be obscured by the economy.  In 2010 competition is going to get more attention as everyone begins to release the problems in New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Nevada are as much related to increased (and increasing) competition as they are to the economy.  The economy will improve over time;  so will the competition – but the meaning of improve will be polar opposites when applied to economy and competition. And Road Houses with whiskey barrels won’t be the answer.

November casino revenues drop to 2005 level

Mississippi’s state-licensed casinos reported November revenues of $185.4 million, the lowest revenue figure since September 2005 when a dozen coastal casinos were shut down after Hurricane Katrina…Since January, the casinos have taken in $2.27 billion, compared to $2.51 billion from January to November 2008…casinos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast…$87.2 million…Casinos along the Mississippi River won $99.2 million. Associated Press – Clarion-Ledger
Alabama casinos go upscale to rival Mississippi
Alabama casinos are making a $500 million bet that luxury hotels, celebrity restaurants and big-name entertainment will give southbound tourists an alternative to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast gambling destinations. Tourists headed through Alabama to the Gulf can now stop at top-line restaurants opened by country singers John Anderson and Lorrie Morgan, catch big-name entertainers like Hank Williams Jr. and Reba McEntire, and gamble in pricey new digs that look like they belong in Las Vegas rather than rural, Bible-belt Alabama.  “We are not a pass-through corridor any more,” developer Ronnie Gilley said.  Alabama’s casinos don’t have slot machines and table games like the casinos in Mississippi. Instead, they are filled with electronic bingo machines, which resemble slot machines with their flashing lights and quick play. The experience can be much the same as slots.  Gambling expert Bill Eadington of the University of Nevada at Reno said Alabama’s new attractions have a lot of potential because they are located on major travel routes, and their opening is likely to be felt next door in Mississippi, with its Gulf Coast casino row.  “The more supply you have, the more difficulty you have capturing customers,” Eadington said. Phillip Rawls, Associated Press – Biloxi Sun Herald
Roadhouse Casino holds grand opening
Harrah’s Entertainment Mid-South Region has officially opened Tunica Roadhouse Casino and Hotel. Tunica Roadhouse Casino and Hotel, previously Sheraton Casino and Hotel Tunica, opened after being closed for the past four days to complete renovations.  The Southern rock roadhouse utilizes reclaimed materials to create an authentic roadhouse interior and atmosphere.  Gaming offerings are being enhanced with the addition of over 200 new low denomination slots and a new high-limit table games area. Keeping with the roadhouse theme all table games will sit upon authentic Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrels. Non-gaming enhancements include an expanded bar area with an increased live entertainment schedule, a mechanical bull named Whiskey, pool tables and beer pong tables on the casino floor. Wally Northway, Mississippi Business Journal – Mississippi Business Journal

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