Rising water on the Mississippi River could boost the gambling fortunes of at least one Arkansas gaming venue.
Memphis-area, Mississippi, New Orleans and several gambling news outlets are reporting that the barge-based casinos in Tunica that sit on the mighty Mississippi River will be closed due to near-record flood levels from the storms that have ravaged the Midwest and South.
Nine of Tunica’s casinos will shut down "indefinitely over the next several days." The move could furlough 10,000 workers and cost millions in lost casino profits and tax revenue for the local community.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission ordered the shutdowns as a precaution to expected flooding.
According to commission records, the Mississippi casinos on the river generated gross monthly revenue of $115.4 million in March 2011.
The shutdown could boost gambling at Southland Casino and Racetrack in West Memphis. Southland already has been fiercely competing for customers in Tunica, owing to a closer proximity to the Memphis market than Tunica does. In March 2011, electronic games of skill generated more than $94.6 million in gross revenue for Southland.
Analysts say that a migration of gamblers to Southland could push business from Mississippi to West Memphis. February and March were already record months for casino-style wagers for Southland. Hot Springs-based Oaklawn, which also has electronic games of skill and has experienced record months for wagering, is likely to see some increase in business, too.
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