Tunica casino revenue down for second straight year

Tunica Casino Revenue Down For Second Straight Year

(WMC-TV) - Slot machines inside Tunica casinos are where people go for a chance at good luck.

But for the second year in a row, it appears bad luck has hit the resort town about 30 minutes south of Memphis.

"We're down, I think a little over 8 percent year over year, but we're down almost 30 percent from our high of 2006," said Webster Franklin, CEO of the Tunica Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

It's a troubling trend for casinos all across Mississippi.

October was the worst revenue month since September of 1998.

Tom and Nita Zajicek were visiting Tunica for the second time on Wednesday. While they don't often gamble, they doubt most have the flexible income right now.

"I think people who have a few extra dollars are hanging on right now because they don't know what's going to happen, if they're going to have to pay more taxes or more medical expenses and so they're just waiting," Nita Zajicek said.

Betty Franklin hasn't worked at the casino since 2010.

"I worked at Hollywood for 8 years in the Hollywood diner as a waitress," Franklin said.

She said money was great when she first started, but now she's employed at a nearby gas station where she sees fewer out of state plates.

"You had people from all over the world, but now I can see less people come," said Franklin.

The Tunica CVB says several plans are in the works to overcome a tough economy and more casino competition nationwide.

"I think we'll come back and we'll come back stronger for it, we're sure not going to give up," said Webster Franklin.

With so many casino destinations, Franklin is working to bring tourists to the delta for more than just gaming.

"We can add things to the market when the economy turns around, things like water parks, things like family entertainment," Webster Franklin said.

The Tunica CVB hopes to take advantage of state incentive programs to bring businesses and tourists to the area.

Plans to expand the blues museum are also in the works.

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