Betting on Tunica's gaming industry becomes a gamble

Betting on Tunica's gaming industry becomes a gamble

TUNICA, MS (WMC) - Betting on Tunica County's future in the gaming industry is becoming more of a gamble than the slots inside now that both Horseshoe Tunica and Tunica Roadhouse have filed for bankruptcy.

Cherriea Weaver remembers when gamblers were pouring money into Tunica County.

"When it was first here, it was booming pretty much," Weaver said.

Thursday, Weaver learned that Tunica Roadhouse and Horseshoe Tunica's operators, Caesars Entertainment, filed for bankruptcy protection.

Her family member works at one of the casinos and told her business has been down for awhile.

"It's very slow, they don't see much money coming in during the day, you know he walk the floors and it's just, you can count the people on the floor," said Weaver.

Mississippi River casinos saw revenue drops almost every month in 2014 compared to 2013. It's why county economic development leader Lyn Arnold is marketing the area for tourism, history, and industry.

Casino competition is all over the area; a big difference from when most opened in the 90s.

"At that time you could go basically to three places in the United States and that was Vegas, Reno, and Atlantic City and now there are over 1,000 casinos in 41 states," Arnold said.

Even with a bankruptcy filing, Caesars Entertainment says their Tunica casinos will remain open as usual.

Weaver says nothing has been the same since Harrah's closed this past summer, when about 1,300 people lost their jobs, right across from where she works.

"I work at the outlet over there and with Harrah's closing, it's been horrible, it's been horrible," Weaver said.

Arnold says lower gas prices may drive more people to spend their expendable income at the casinos. Weaver hopes so, because she says the gaming industry helps support two jobs in her family.

"That's all I can say, I really do hope and pray that it gets better," Weaver said.

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