We reported more than a week ago that the rising waters on the mighty Mississippi River were likely to close a number of river-based casinos in Mississippi.
Those actions have been confirmed with as many as 19 casinos looking at up to one month of closure due to the dangerous flood waters.
The economic hardship for our neighbors to the east offers some advantages for Arkansas.
Hot Springs-based Oaklawn Park is expecting a spike in its casino traffic as potential bus tours to Tunica and Greenville, Mississippi are re-routed.
More in the catbird’s seat is Southland Racing and Gaming. The West-Memphis-based "racino" is set to accommodate the transient casino business.
Last week, the Arkansas Racing Commission granted emergency status to Southland allowing its casino side to stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was previously limited to weekends with those hours.
Southland is also immediately adding 100 new gaming machines and is hiring temporary employees from the displaced casinos to accommodate the groundswell of new business. Southland leaders hope the opportunity gives them a chance to steal more market share from the Tunica region, which gaming statistics show has been happening during the past year.
Oaklawn and Southland had their two best electronic gambling months on record in February and March. Officials expect April and May to shatter those numbers for games like slots, electronic blackjack and poker and roulette.