Resorting to Casinos

Resorting to Casinos: The Mississippi Gambling Industry

Edited by Denise von Herrmann
Sharon Wright Austin
Richard T. Middleton
Edward J. Clynch
Douglas G. Feig
James B. Kaatz
Richards Davis
Michael Nelson
John Lyman Mason
Deanne Stephens Nuwer
Greg OʹBrien
Brian Richard
Rodney E. Stanley
Denise von Herrmann
Dena C. Wittmann
Copyright Date: 2006
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2tvfmk
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    Resorting to Casinos
    Book Description:

    After the devastation Hurricane Katrina wrought on Mississippi's Gulf Coast casinos, media nationwide reported the loss in revenue the state was bound to suffer. From just those casinos shut down or destroyed by the storm, $500,000 in tax revenue had poured into Mississippi's coffers every day.

    Biloxi, Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Greenville, Lula, Natchez, Tunica, and Vicksburg-destinations once known for hanging moss, antebellum homes, or seaside fun are now also sought out for casino gambling.

    The phenomenal growth of the Mississippi casino resort industry has attracted substantial interest from industry observers, public officials, politicians, and public interest groups. This book seeks to begin the conversation about the effects the industry and its dramatic growth have had on the politics, culture, and people of Mississippi.

    Prior to the casinos' arrival in mid-July of 1992, the river and coastal regions of Mississippi were mired in economic recession. Unemployment was high, incomes were low, and prospects for improvement were dim. One state economic developer said the decision to authorize casinos was "born more out of desperation" than any ingenious plan.

    As the third largest casino gaming market in the United States before Katrina, Mississippi today has a more than ten-year history with the casino industry. The twenty-nine non-Indian casino properties generated nearly $3 billion in gross gaming revenues, resulting in about $330 million in direct gaming taxes to the state.

    Resorting to Casinosprovides insight into the ongoing debate as to how well the casino industry and Mississippi fit together. Political scientists, economic developers, sociologists, and policy analysts provide essays on such topics as the casino workplace, casinos and crime, the historical and cultural influences of casinos, and the economic ramifications. It provides the first multidisciplinary examination of the casino resort phenomenon in Mississippi.

    Additional information updates new gaming laws in Mississippi that will allow casinos to build inland on the Gulf Coast. Editor Denise von Herrmann looks at the legislative battle fought in Katrina's aftermath and the future of gaming across the state.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-660-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-2)
  3. THE CASINO RESORT SOLUTION TO MISSISSIPPI’S PROBLEMS An Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)
    DENISE VON HERRMANN

    The phenomenal growth of the Mississippi casino resort industry has attracted substantial interest from industry observers, public officials, politicians, and public interest groups. It has thus far failed to generate a substantial amount of academic interest, however. This book seeks to begin the conversation about the effects the industry’s growth has had on the politics, culture, and the people of Mississippi.

    Mississippi is a state that has long been plagued by a variety of economic and social problems. Throughout much of modern history, the Magnolia state has suffered from chronic underemployment, low personal family incomes, lack of capital investment in...

  4. MISSISSIPPI’S OLDEST PASTIME
    (pp. 11-25)
    DEANNE STEPHENS NUWER and GREG OʹBRIEN

    Gambling in Mississippi provokes passionate responses among some of the state’s citizens. Evangelical Protestants in the state recently condemned the activity. Complaining that gambling in Mississippi has grown “like malignant tumors,” Methodist bishops blamed organized gambling for causing individuals and families to lose “their business, their homes, and their inheritance,” commit suicide, and neglect their children (United Methodist New Service 1999). Baptists have insisted that “opposition to gambling [is] underscored in scripture” and that gambling “questions the sovereign rule of God over our lives.” Moreover, according to the evangelists, the Bible calls “every disciple of Christ to a life incompatible...

  5. MISSISSIPPI The Politics of Casino Gambling
    (pp. 26-46)
    MICHAEL NELSON and JOHN LYMAN MASON

    As the 1990 session of the Mississippi legislature began its work in January, the stage seemed set for the adoption of a state lottery. Nineteen states had created lotteries in the preceding ten years, including two in the South, Florida in 1986 and Virginia in 1987. Two of Mississippi’s neighbors, Tennessee on its northern border and Louisiana to the west, were actively considering lotteries. Mired in recession, the state treasury had experienced several consecutive years of budgetary shortfalls. Democratic governor Ray Mabus, eschewing a tax increase, had made a lottery the financial centerpiece of his recently proposed Better Education for...

  6. RACIAL POLITICS OF CASINO GAMING IN THE DELTA The Case of Tunica County
    (pp. 47-66)
    SHARON WRIGHT AUSTIN and RICHARD T. MIDDLETON IV

    The Mississippi Delta has been called a “police state,” “cotton obsessed, Negro obsessed,” and “the most southern place on earth” because of white resistance to black political participation and economic advancement (Cobb 1992; Payne 1990; Vance 1935). For most of the state’s history, black Delta families were sharecroppers who lived in small shanties, picked cotton from morning until night, and had no substantive political voice. There were few opportunities for economic growth in the region because of numerous factors endemic to the Mississippi Delta. Most prominently, race relations in the Delta were strained. In addition, the area suffered from having...

  7. WERE CASINOS A SOLUTION FOR STATE ECONOMIC GROWTH?
    (pp. 67-80)
    DENISE VON HERRMANN

    Mississippi has seen the greatest, and the fastest, growth of any of the casino markets opening since 1990. Unlike the majority of states authorizing casinos since 1990, Mississippi has adopted a market-oriented regulatory structure. Simply stated, while most locations limit the number of casino licenses that may be granted, and many also place credit, loss, or wager limits on betting, Mississippi has chosen to allow full and open competition among casinos.

    Both the state and the casino industry have appeared to benefit from the overall economic expansion, which has accompanied the legalization of casino gambling in Mississippi. It is difficult...

  8. THE IMPACT OF CASINO GAMBLING ON MUNICIPAL REVENUE, EXPENDITURES, AND FISCAL HEALTH
    (pp. 81-100)
    EDWARD J. CLYNCH, DOUGLAS G. FEIG and JAMES B. KAATZ

    This research explores the impact of casino tax revenues on recipient Mississippi municipalities and counties. The specific focus is on the steadiness of this revenue stream over time and its impact on spending and financial practice decisions.

    One can only speculate what impact gaming revenues have on local government because there is a lack of research on two basic questions. The first is:how stable are gaming funds as a revenue source at the local level?States have seen lottery revenues decline after initially providing large boosts in revenues (Spindler 1995). Over time, should local governments expect the same phenomenon...

  9. THE FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF CASINO GAMING ON STATE AND LOCAL EDUCATION POLICY IN MISSISSIPPI
    (pp. 101-120)
    RODNEY E. STANLEY

    When American society embraced the concept of educating its citizenry, public local school districts began to emerge across the nation. Because education is a means of socializing citizens to embrace the norms, values, and customs of a society, policymakers felt that the only way universal support for public education would emerge is by allowing local governments to control education (Odden and Picus 1992). By allowing local governments to control education, these officials felt students could be socialized to accept each local government’s norms and values. In their view, if local governments could teach students the “right world view” (the world...

  10. A DAY IN THE NIGHT OF A CASINO WORKER Shift Work Culture of Mississippi Dockside Gaming Employees
    (pp. 121-142)
    DENA C. WITTMANN

    Shift work is increasingly becoming a fact of life for over twenty million full-time workers in the United States (Solomon 1993).¹ Prior to 1992, the Mississippi Gulf Coast was home to few civilian industries that required nonstandard working hours and around-the-clock staffing of personnel.² With the legalization of gambling in 1992, a new class of service workers emerged as casinos require that workers be present on a rotating basis twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Today, the casino gaming industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast employs 17,720 individuals, making it the top employer in...

  11. CASINOS, CRIME, AND THE COSTS OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE
    (pp. 143-155)
    RICHARDS DAVIS

    Gambling has, to a large degree, evolved from a “victimless crime” controlled by organized criminals to a legal activity that incurs much debate about the impact that it has as a contributing factor for the general crime rate. Now that gambling itself is not considered to be an illegal activity, in many jurisdictions at least, law enforcement must deal with the question of legal gambling establishments as crime attractors. Opponents of casinos have long argued that they attract crime and once established even create crime. They cite a long history of association between gambling and organized crime to support their...

  12. THE FUTURE OF THE CASINO RESORT INDUSTRY IN MISSISSIPPI
    (pp. 156-166)
    BRIAN RICHARD

    In the short history of casino gaming in Mississippi, three distinct phases have revealed themselves. The first two years saw extreme growth, with casinos opening as fast as possible, as investment capital rushed into the new market. Starting with the Isle of Capri in Biloxi in March 1992, twenty-nine casinos had opened in Mississippi by March 1994.¹

    After this initial phase of growth, there was a period of shakeout in the industry. Between 1994 and 1999, eight new properties opened while seven closed their doors. This period was also marked by expansions, relocations, and buyouts. Most of the investment was...

  13. AFTERWORD
    (pp. 167-173)
    DENISE VON HERRMANN

    The Hard Rock Casino barge, destroyed by the winds and tidal surge from Hurricane Katrina on August 29, caught fire on September 21. The fire began about 5 p.m. when construction crews were cutting a section off the barge’s roof. Earlier that same afternoon, explosives crews across town imploded what remained of the Grand Casino Gulfport gaming barge where it sat in the middle of U.S. Highway 90 westbound.

    The hurricane forced casinos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to evacuate and close their doors. Most will remain closed for many months. The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, originally scheduled to...

  14. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 174-176)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 177-182)