November 29, 2022

Volume XII, Number 333

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November 29, 2022

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November 28, 2022

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2020 Mississippi Milestones

We took a deeper dive into Mississippi’s milestones throughout 2020 and have listed those highlights below.

UMUSIC Broadwater Hotel and Casino

Dakia Global U-Ventures and Universal Music Group announced a $1.2 billion resort to be built in Biloxi starting in 2021, with a target opening in 2023. The planned resort would have 1,150 hotel rooms, a 12,000-seat entertainment venue, and an 18-hole golf course.

Multi-State Draw Debut

Following the successful launch of the Mississippi Lottery in November 2019, the first multi-state draw games went on sale January 30 in Mississippi, with both Powerball and Mega Millions being available for purchase.

Lottery Success

After selling the first scratch-off tickets Thanksgiving weekend 2019, the Mississippi Lottery transferred more than $70 million to the state treasury by the end of the fiscal year, July 1, 2020. The authorizing statute requires that the first $80 million in every fiscal year will go to the State Highway Fund, but any amounts beyond $80 million will go to the Education Enhancement Fund. It is anticipated that lottery revenue will fund the Education Enhancement Fund in 2021 for the first time.

Scarlet Pearl Renovations

Amid coronavirus-related concerns and closings, the Scarlet Pearl has proceeded with its planned $30 million upgrade, most recently opening the Orchid Room, a high-limit gaming area. 

Gross Gaming Revenue

While casino properties in the state were shut down for a significant time in the spring due to COVID-19, the reopenings in time for Memorial Day weekend led to an extremely strong recovery in gross gaming revenue, with July and August reporting more than 5% increases over a similar time frame in 2019. Overall, the pandemic continues to prove challenging to the Mississippi gaming market.

Eldorado Completes Purchase of Caesars

Eldorado Resorts completed the purchase of Caesars Entertainment on July 20, 2020, creating the largest gaming company in America. The merger was a $17.3 billion cash and stock deal. Following the transaction, El Dorado (now named Caesars) has five casinos in Mississippi — Harrah’s Gulf Coast in Biloxi, Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, Trop Casino in Greenville, Lady Luck in Vicksburg, and Isle of Capri in Lula.

Intense Hurricane Season

While the pandemic was challenging enough, 2020 brought one of the most active hurricane seasons on record, and the Mississippi gaming industry was not immune. Hurricane Zeta alone caused $50 million in damage to Gulf Coast casinos, in addition to the loss of gross gaming revenue during closures caused by the storm.

Mobile Sports Wagering

In December 2020, the Mississippi Senate Gaming Committee held hearings on the possibility of statewide mobile sports betting being made legal in the state. Will 2021 be the year?

© 2022 Jones Walker LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 364
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About this Author

Thomas Shepherd, Gaming Attorney, IAGA President, 2014, Jones Walker Law FIrm
Partner

Tommy Shepherd is a partner in the firm’s Business and Commercial Transactions Practice Group. As an accomplished gaming attorney, he served as President of the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA) in 2014.

Tommy represents major casino companies, Native American tribes, manufacturers, suppliers, and financial institutions regarding all matters relating to the development, financing, licensing and operation of gaming and resort facilities. His extensive experience in such matters includes public-private leases, financings, land use approvals, statutory and regulatory...

601.949.4711
Zachary Branson, Jones Walker Law Firm, Jackson, Business and Transaction Attorney
Associate

Zachary W. Branson is an associate in Jones Walker's Business & Commercial Transactions Practice Group, working in the Jackson office. Mr. Branson's practice includes commercial real estate, commercial transactions, and corporate counseling. He has experience in complex, multi-forum litigation and has represented clients in a range of industries, including construction, manufacturing, and entertainment.

Mr. Branson received his juris doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served on the Editorial Board of the...

601-949-4810
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