A cautionary casino tale from Tunica, Miss. | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 21, 2019

A cautionary casino tale from Tunica, Miss.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 8:58 AM

click to enlarge TUNICA MEMORY: This casino owned by Caesar's closed in 2014. That put 1,300 out of work.
  • TUNICA MEMORY: This casino owned by Caesar's closed in 2014. That put 1,300 out of work.
The Los Angeles Times reports on the sagging casino economy in Tunica, Miss., a sag due in part to increasing national competition. The tale is worth noting as Arkansas expands its casinos.

Casinos have closed; employment has dropped two-thirds from its peak, and tax revenues have dropped by almost 50 percent.

Mississippi differs from Arkansas's expanding casino industry in a significant respect — there were no meaningful caps on the number of casinos that could open. In time, there were more than the traffic could justify. In Arkansas, the casinos are capped at four, with two already in business at West Memphis and Hot Springs. Pine Bluff, with an economy and population similar to its Delta counterpart in Tunica, will be home to a Quapaw casino fairly soon. The situation in the other authorized locale, Pope County, is hazier.

The Tunica story also is worth reading for the post mortem on how government officials dealt with the newfound casino wealth and whether it was spent wisely. This lies ahead, too, in Arkansas. Might Tunica have invested better in low-cost housing and job training than in an aquatic center and practice soccer fields?

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