Mississippi rebounds with promotions

Oct 30, 2001 5:02 AM

Creativity is being credited with the almost immediate turnaround following the sudden drop in Missisippi casino revenues following the 9/11 terrorists attacks.

Strong marketing programs aimed at customers in close proximity to the Gulf Coast casinos gave a strong boost to the gaming properties that looked like they would be in for tough sledding. In fact, when the state’s gaming revenues were tallied, regulators found that September had generated $217 million in casino win, nearly 1% higher than that reported in the corresponding month a year earlier.

Linda Hornsby, who heads the Mississippi Gulf Coast Hotel & Lodging Association, pointed at the hotel marketing programs whereby they discounted the cost of rooms as a reason for the turnaround in business. Although she agreed that the average daily rate per room was down significantly in late September, “the casino properties have another way to make their money, so they can rent their rooms at a lesser rate,” she said.

The dozen casinos that are located on the Gulf Coast reported winning $91.9 million during September. This amounted to a jump of $3.5 million over last year.

One analyst suggested that vacationers were steering clear of airlines and cruise ships and just felt safer spending their time at the casinos on the Gulf instead of traveling.

Despite the improvement after a week of impacted business, the Beau Rivage Resort Hotel/Casino in Biloxi, Miss., reported a lay off of 340 of its employees because of a continued downturn” in business. The layoff represents about 11% of the property’s workforce.

Beau Rivage, built by the legendary Steve Wynn when he was master of Mirage Resorts Inc., became the property of MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG), following the merger of the two companies.