Tax revenue from casinos sees hike in January|[03/01/08]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 1, 2008

While gross gaming revenues were down along the Mississippi River for January, combined revenue tax collections for Vicksburg and Warren County were up in the first month of the calendar year.

Figures released by the City of Vicksburg show $695,230 went into city coffers, up from $555,328 in December. Collections by Warren County equaled $226,208. When added to the $61,421 collected for schools, the total proceeds for January reached $910,203, up from $803,915 in December.

Much of the total is owed to the device tax, the $150 annual fee per gaming machine paid periodically to the city during the year. In January, $215,100 was paid. The fees total $322,950 for the year.

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For the fiscal year, Vicksburg has collected just less than $2.3 million from the four local casinos and the county $926,983, both down about 2 percent from last year.

Vicksburg’s four casinos pay a 3.2 percent revenue tax to the State of Mississippi that is divided with 10 percent to schools, 25 percent to Warren County and 65 percent to the city. A second revenue tax is a .8 percent share of the state’s 8 percent revenue tax. It is split based on population proportions between Vicksburg and Warren County.

Statewide, tax collections for January totaled $27.7 million, compared to $29 million in December.

As for gross revenue, the eight casinos on the Mississippi River took in $117.9 million during the month, down from $124.5 million in December. The 11 coastal casinos took in $107.6 million, down $7 million from December.

Gross revenues is the net amount of money won from gamblers. It is not profit.

Four casinos have operated in Vicksburg since 1993. Ameristar, the city’s largest, plans to finish a $98 million expansion by early summer. Additional hiring may accompany the changes, spokesman Bess Averett said.

“We’re expecting more by the end of the year,” Averett said.

DiamondJacks, formerly Isle of Capri, promises more renovation to its casino on Washington Street. Horizon, formerly Harrah’s, is in the process of an announced sale to Houston-based Nevada Gold & Casinos Inc.

Riverwalk Casino, next to Rainbow, plans to open in November. Another development is planned by Lakes Entertainment off U.S. 61 South.