Gambling income up, sales taxes drop for month

Published 12:32 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Local income from gambling in April saw an increase from last year but a fall from a month earlier, city officials reported Monday.

Meanwhile, sales tax income was up from the previous month but down from last year.

City officials said they are bracing for the next few months when hefty adjustments will be required because of the Mississippi River flood and the closing of three of five casinos.

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“We know we are going to be affected here,” Mayor Paul Winfield said. “Our Board (of Mayor and Aldermen) has had some real discussions as we move forward on how we make adjustments because we know today that two of the five casinos are in operations. I’m hopeful the casinos will be able to rebound fast.”

Lost revenues from Rainbow Casino and DiamondJacks Casino might be offset by the increase in the other two casinos that are open, city accountant Doug Whittington said.

“I’m sure the other two will pick up the action,” he said. “However, in this flood situation, I don’t know how people would react.”

Gaming tax revenue in April totaled $547,754.85, down from $588,328 collected in March. April’s gaming revenue collections were 18.61 percent better than in April 2010, when $461,798 was collected.

Fiscal year-to-date totals for gaming tax is $3,713,134, off by 2.81 percent from the $6,688,000 forecast.

The city’s five casinos pay a 3.2 percent revenue tax to the State of Mississippi. The revenue is divided locally with the city getting 65 percent, Warren County getting 25 percent and the Vicksburg Warren School District, 10 percent. A second revenue tax is an 0.8 percent share of the state’s 8.8 percent revenue tax, which is split based on population proportions between Vicksburg and Warren County.

With the economic impact from the flood, sales tax revenues are directly affected, Winfield said.