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Mississippi casino revenues dip sharply in May

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Casinos across Mississippi saw big drops in revenue in May, dipping by 10.6 percent compared to the year before.

Mississippi Department of Revenue figures show casinos statewide won $172 million from gamblers in May, down from $192 million May 2013.

The 12 coastal casinos won $84.3 million, down 11 percent from May 2013. The 18 river casinos won $87.5 million, down 10 percent from a year earlier.

It's the 21st month out of the last 23 that Mississippi casinos have won less money from gamblers compared to the same month of the previous year. June could see even sharper drops in the river region, with Caesars Entertainment Corp. closing its Harrah's casino in Tunica County on June 2. About 1,000 workers lost their jobs in the shutdown, which left Caesars with two smaller casinos in the struggling eight-casino market.

The numbers exclude Choctaw Indian casinos, which aren't required to report winnings to the state.

Revenue at Gulf casinos is down 2 percent over the last 12 months, reflecting a pattern where winnings have actually risen in a few months and have been flat in some others. The river casinos have seen revenues fall 7 percent over the last 12 months, where Tunica and Lula casinos have suffered in part from competition from expanding gambling at two racetracks in Arkansas.

Revenues in Arkansas increased almost seven-fold from 2007 to 2013, rising by more than 10 percent from the year earlier for 55 straight months. But rapid growth has shown signs of leveling out in the first half of 2014. Arkansas casino winnings rose 1.5 percent in April to $18.8 million.

In Louisiana, the 21 state-licensed casinos took in $202.5 million statewide in May, nearly even with winnings from a year earlier. The total dipped $317,000 — one-tenth of one percentage point down from May 2013.

Winnings were downs in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and Morgan City, but rose in Shreveport-Bossier City and Opelousas.

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Follow Jeff Amy at: http://twitter.com/jeffamy

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