BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – Gaming leaders from across the southeast gathered at Beau Revege to celebrate 30 years of doxide gambling.
About 500 guests filled the ballroom, some of them from Japan.
According to Michael Suderman, president of M2 Media, before the legislature changed, there was a boat gambling route on the river. However, natural disasters caused destruction in the industry.
“If they hadn’t decided to rebuild after Katrina, if they hadn’t passed the Gaming Act, which allowed construction on their land, I think half of the casinos would have taken out an insurance check, avoided the city and wiped out our Mississippi Gulf coastal tourism.” Said.
Thirty years ago, Harrison County voters changed the gaming industry in southern Mississippi by approving a dockside gaming referendum.
These changes have changed coastal culture through increased employment, revenue and tourism.
“When you can build on land, you can invest more money in land. They have built mega hotels, they have created attractions and it has attracted more people to our casino, ”said Sundarman.
The Isle of Capri Riverboat became the first dockside casino in business in 1922.
Alan Solomon was behind the casino’s new developments, which led to him being inducted into the Mississippi Gaming Hall of Fame alongside Virginia McDowell, Craig H. Nielsen, Kagemasa Kozuki and John Harston.
“We look for people who are influential, people like the founding fathers and mothers of the gaming industry, big time investors who took risks in Mississippi, gaming makers and regulators.” Said Sundarman.
Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association, said he was proud to say that after 30 years, casinos continue to dominate the coast and bring in dollars.
“The Mississippi Gulf Coast had $ 1.6 billion in gross gaming revenue per year, the largest number on record since gaming started here. We now have 15,000 employees so the industry has grown into one of the most respected gaming jurisdictions in Mississippi since the 1990’s, ”said Sundarman.
Gregory said the gaming state has earned 3.3 million.
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