IP Casino Resort Spa and the American Gaming Association (AGA) hosted state legislators, local business owners, nonprofit leaders, and gaming industry representatives in Biloxi, Mississippi to discuss the casino gaming’s deep roots in the Magnolia State’s economy and communities.
The event was held in conjunction with the release of AGA’s Casinos and Communities: Mississippi report, which pairs gaming’s economic impact data—more than 37,000 jobs supported and $1.6 billion in wages generated annually across Mississippi—with firsthand perspectives from Mississippians.
AGA president and CEO Bill Miller prefaced the panel discussion by noting that “There’s no such thing as the company town without the company… [Mississippi] is a great example of the casino industry creating economic hubs that allow for gateways to the middle class.”
Biloxi resident Mike Alise, owner of Gulf Coast Produce, whose company was nearly bankrupt when he moved to town 25 years ago, attributed the financial turnaround of his business to gaming, remarking, “The casino industry is unbelievably vital to what we do on a day-to-day basis. It is truly a partnership. We wouldn’t be what we are today without the continued support from the casinos.” Gulf Coast Produce is now a $40 million company, employs 70 workers, and serves every casino on the Gulf Coast.
$4.4 billion in economic impact annually
37,277 jobs supported
$1.6 billion in supported wages
$976 million in taxes and tribal revenue share payments annually
Looking back on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Duncan McKenzie, GM of IP Casino Resort Spa, recollected that, “we got up fast and we were able to help our vendors get up faster because we required goods and services from them…we’re proud to be a part of the team of casinos throughout the state that help other industries and create tax bases.”
State Representative Richard Bennet expanded upon what the gaming industry meant to him as a state official, explaining, “you’re talking about people with retirements, you’re talking about good healthcare, you’re talking about a stable job… and the industry has been good to the state by reinvesting back.”
The panel covered a variety of additional industry topics, including regulation and charitable support for local communities.
Miller concluded the morning’s discussion by emphasizing the industry’s commitment to responsible gaming, focusing his remarks on the importance of responsible advertising in sports betting as legal sports wagering enters the mainstream in Mississippi and across the country.
The panel also featured Allen Godfrey, executive director, Mississippi Gaming Commission, and John McFarland, executive director, southeast Mississippi chapter of the American Red Cross. Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association, moderated the panel.
- Casino industry has $4 billion impact in Mississippi, The Sun Herald
- AGA: Casino gaming industry key to Mississippi growth, Casino Beats
- Mississippi gaming lauded by AGA as driver of growth in state economy, SBC Americas
- Mississippi Casino Gaming drives economic growth, supports local communities, new report finds, Casino International
Owner, Gulf Coast Produce
State Representative, Mississippi Legislature
Executive Director, Mississippi Gaming Commission
Executive Director of the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association (moderator)
Executive Director, Southeast Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross
General Manager, IP Casino Resort Spa
President and CEO, American Gaming Association