Mississippi Casinos Actually Had A Better Memorial Day Than Last Year

Posted on June 1, 2020

With occupancy limits, social distancing requirements, and other precautions in place, most Mississippi casinos reopened on May 21. However such restrictions hardly lessened casino-goers’ enthusiasm, according to figures shared by state regulators late last week.

In fact, even with all the precautions in place at Mississippi casinos, Memorial Day weekend was even bigger than it was in 2019.

$5 million revenue increase over last Memorial Day weekend

On Thursday the Mississippi Gambling Commission reported that casinos’ gross gaming revenue for the May 21-25 weekend totaled $33.9 million, according to the Biloxi Sun Herald. That’s $5 million more than the $28.9 million Mississippi casinos took in over Memorial Day weekend in 2019.

The increase came despite the fact that the largest casino in the state, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, had yet to open. The Beau Rivage finally reopened its doors on Monday.

“What we know is there’s a lot of pent-up demand out there,” said Gov. Tate Reeves at a press conference last Thursday when asked to comment on the casinos’ strong Memorial Day showing.

“People want to be able to go to casinos,” added Reeves. “There’s a lot of desire and demand for entertainment opportunities.”

The governor added that he was encouraged by the turnout at the casinos. But he stressed as well the need for Mississippians to continue to be vigilant about safety as more businesses open.

Positive Silver Slipper numbers heralded overall gain

Prior to the Mississippi Gambling Commission’s report, the parent company of the Silver Slipper Casino in Bay St. Louis had already shared how the casino had enjoyed a 12.3% year-over-year increase in total casino win during its first five days after reopening.

The Silver Slipper’s total casino win of $1.15 million from May 21-25 was up from $1.03 million over the same period a year ago.

Total guests were actually down nearly 16% at the Silver Slipper. Moreover, less than half the slots were in operation. Even so, the total win from slots was up 12% to comprise the majority of the overall total.

Precautionary measures remain in place

As happened with casinos and other businesses all over the country, the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 forced Mississippi casinos to close by March 16.

The 11 casinos that reopened May 21 are operating with occupancy restrictions of 50% capacity and limited points of entry. Social distancing requirements are in place as well. There must be at least six feet between seats at slot machines and table games.

Table games are limited to three players maximum, and sportsbooks and many restaurants remain closed.

Other precautions include pre-work temperature checks for all employees who are also required to wear masks. Customers do not have to wear masks, although the guidelines recommend that they do. Some of the casinos are also checking customers’ temperatures before permitting them to enter.

VIP lounges must remain closed, while casinos’ gyms and spas can operate with restrictions. There is no valet service. Nor are any special events, tournaments, or other forms of entertainment allowed at any of the properties.

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Martin Harris

Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. His book Poker & Pop Culture was published by D&B Books in 2019.

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