July tax collections see jump as new casino comes on board|[08/20/2008]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2008

July reports show an increase over July 2007, but with two months left in the fiscal year, revenue-based taxes paid to the city, county and public schools by Vicksburg’s four casinos continued to lag 2007 figures slightly – the first revenue downturn since dockside gambling began here in 1993.

Year-to-date numbers show Vicksburg, Warren County and the Vicksburg Warren School District about 3.75 percent behind last year’s collections of the 3.2 percent revenue tax. In overall collections, that margin is cut to a 1.7 percent differential by fees collected by the city on gaming positions added this year.

The big boost in the gaming position or device fee of $150 per slot machine or seat at a table game was payment by Riverwalk Casino and Hotel, set to open in the fall. Riverwalk’s parent company, Magnolia Hills LLC, was approved for a gaming license July 17 by the Mississippi Gaming Commission, which cleared the way for the casino to order its gaming machines and tables and, consequently, pay its device fee.

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A total of $249,450 was collected in device fees in July, bringing the year to date total to $761,757 – compared to $595,050 collected last fiscal year. All five casinos have paid device fees for this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

Tax revenue generated by Vicksburg’s four casinos mirrors a statewide trend.

Throughout Mississippi, the 29 casinos that pay state taxes won $249.3 million from gamblers in July, up a bit from June, but trailing last year’s July total by $18.4 million. The 18 casinos along the Mississippi River won $133.6 million in June, while the 11 along the Gulf Coast took in $115.7 million. The two casinos outside Philadelphia do not pay state taxes or report winnings because they are owned by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Local governments and schools also collect property taxes on casinos, their hotels, restaurants, support buildings and restaurants, with the largest share going to schools. The city receives a rebate of part of the general sales taxes collected at shops, restaurants and hotels and also imposes a 1 percent added tax on food and alcohol sales and a 2 percent tax on rooms rented by the night.

Casino tax revenueVicksburg’s four casinos pay a 3.2 percent revenue tax to the State of Mississippi that is divided, with 10 percent going to schools, 25 percent to Warren County and 65 percent to the city. A second revenue tax is a 0.8 percent share of the state’s 8.8 percent revenue tax. It is split based on population proportions between Vicksburg and Warren County. Vicksburg also imposes a $150 per year per gaming position fee that is not shared with the county or schools. These are the latest receipts of the revenue-based and gaming position fees.July 2008City………$767,078County….$244,077Schools…$66,236Fiscal year to dateCity………$5,969,758County….$2,452,722Schools…$666,150July 2007City………$600,563County….$223,598Schools…$60,710Last fiscal year to dateCity………$6,006,537County….$2,548,103Schools…$692,139Figures do not include property taxes paid annually to the city, county and public schools.Vicksburg collected $595,050 in gaming position fees in 2007. This fiscal year, the city has collected $761,757.