Tunica Amy have to ante up after Katrina - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tunica Amy have to ante up after Katrina

Charles Banks of Alabama likes to gamble.

"Yea, I love it," says Banks. "It's all that's left for me to do being that I'm retired and everything," he adds.

But he's not betting on a return trip to hurricane ravaged Biloxi anytime soon.

"I'll be glad when it come back," says Banks.

Meantime, he's brought his business to Sam's Town in Tunica. That's where scores of people come to "press their luck" everyday.

"On a given day on the weekend--we might have over ten thousand," says GM Ted Bogich.

Bogich says he hasn't seen a "surge" in customers as a direct result of Katrina's wrath.

"At this point, it has not translated into significantly different business conditions for us," says Bogich.

The Convention & Visitors Bureau believes Tunica will "cash in" on the catastrophe eventually. That's as Gulf Coast gamblers find new places to play.

"And we'll be putting together marketing plans and other options to try and increase our market while our neighbors to the gulf coast rebuild," says Webster Franklin, CEO of the Tunica Convention & Visitors Bureau.

He's confident those casinos will bounce back. But keeping gambling money in Mississippi is key until that happens.

Right now, the state is said to be losing up to a half-million dollars per day in tax revenue due to the loss of Gulf Coast casinos.

"Today, the economy in Tunica is much more important to the state of Mississippi than it was three weeks ago."

Three companies with casinos in Tunica also had casinos on the coast. They've suffered millions of dollars in losses. Many of their employees have sought refuge here in the mid-south.

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