Mississippi Governor Optimistic About Gaming Industry
As reported by Reuters: "Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on Thursday said preparations for Hurricane Katrina were as good as they could have been, waving off doubts raised by a video showing U.S. President George W. Bush being warned of the severity of the storm the day before it hit.
"Barbour also forecast a revival of Mississippi's $2.5 billion a year gambling industry, which was devastated when Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast in August, forecasting that his state would one day overtake New Jersey as the nation's second-biggest casino market behind Nevada.
" The state is hoping that casino operators Harrah's Entertainment Inc., MGM Mirage Inc., Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., Penn National Gaming Inc. and others will reinvest in the state and build new hotels and casinos.
"Companies can take advantage of billions of dollars worth of tax breaks and private-activity municipal bonds in the federally declared Gulf Opportunity Zone to help build new facilities.
"A recent Mississippi state law change also now allows casinos to be situated on land up to 800 feet from the waterside. Previously, they had to be located on water in floating barges.
" Mississippi's coast is the third largest gambling market in the United States after Nevada's Las Vegas and New Jersey's Atlantic City. Casino revenue in the state was $2.47 billion in 2005, down from $2.77 billion in 2004, because of the destruction brought by Katrina "