Mississippi’s beckoning!

Jul 2, 2007 3:48 AM

The Mile High Roller is rolling down the river. While it has been an honor and privilege to write for GamingToday as the Colorado correspondent, the time has come to relocate. I have accepted a professorial position in Mississippi.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated major gaming markets of Mississippi and Louisiana. One of the lesser discussed realities is the hemorrhaging of talent from the casinos, where many middle and upper management fled to literal and proverbial drier casino ground, toward markets such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Chicago-land, Black Hawk/Central City and even Northern Mississippi’s Tunica/Lula, Greenville, and Vicksburg.

This migration is a reversal of professional movement. Dr. Fenich of the University of New Orleans Lester E. Kabacoff School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism surmises, "In Las Vegas and Atlantic City, many seasoned professionals were reluctant to move from their homes to the new (Southern) locations. However, the younger and less trained casino people were eager for the chance to move up. In emerging markets like the Southern sector, these relative novices morphed into seasoned professionals."

The shedding of this intellectual and operational human capital is a primary impetus to offer formal educational opportunities to the next generation of potential casino/hospitality management. As a hospitality instructor in the school of business, I will put forth my best efforts to assist students so that they may subsequently contribute specifically to their respective casinos and generally to the economic, social and spiritual recovering of the region.

During the packing, moving, and settling in period, I will be on sabbatical from the column. The weekly piece will be reconfigured to cover the established and re-emerging Southern gaming market.

As a "boots on the ground" resource for GamingToday, I look forward to providing a first person perspective on the properties, politics, and people that are reshaping the Southern gaming experience.

Dear readers”¦thank you again for all of the support shown to this column and GamingToday, and for the future, I guarantee that I will not simply be whistling Dixie.

David Paster owns and operates Yarborough Planning, LLC, an independent consulting concern. With a BA in geography, a certification in secondary education, a masters of urban planning (MUP) and masters of business administration (MBA) degrees, Mr. Paster’s multi-jurisdictional domestic and international experience serves as a foundation upon which his consulting competency is built. David Paster may be reached at (702) 813-5062 or [email protected].