Casino gaming leaders celebrates 30 years of dockside gambling

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – Gaming leaders from across the southeast gathered at the Beau Rivage to celebrate 30 years of dockside gambling.

Nearly 500 guests filled the ballroom, with some coming from as far as Japan.

According to president of M2 Media Michael Suderman, before the change in legislature, gambling on river boats was the way to go. However, natural disasters caused destruction in the industry.

“Had they not decide to rebuild after Katrina, had they not passed the gaming act, which allowed them to build on land, I feel that half of the casinos would have taken an insurance check, skipped town and wiped out our Mississippi Gulf Coast tourism,” said Sunderman.

Thirty years ago, Harrison County voters changed the gaming industry in South Mississippi by approving a dockside gaming referendum.

This changed shifted the culture of the coast by increasing jobs, revenue and tourism.

“Anytime you can build on land, you can invest more money on land. They’ve built mega hotels, they’ve built attractions and that attracted more people to our casinos,” said Sunderman.

The Isle of Capri riverboat became first dockside casino in business in 1922.

Allan Solomon was behind the casino’s new development which is why he’s being inducted in the Mississippi Gaming Hall of Fame, along with Virginia McDowell, Craig H. Neilsen, Kagemasa Kozuki and John Hairston.

“We look for people who have influence, people are sort of the founding mothers and fathers of the gaming industry, big time investors that took a risk on Mississippi, gamming manufacturers and regulators.” Said Sunderman.

See also  Chelsea 2-2 Wolves, Premier League: Statistical Review and Analysis

Executive Director of Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association Larry Gregory said he’s proud to say that 30 years later casinos on the coast are still dominating and bringing dollars.

“The Mississippi Gulf Coast had $1.6 billion gross gaming revenue year, that’s the biggest number on record since gaming started here. Now we have 15,000 employees so since the 1990′s this industry has grown in Mississippi as the most reputable gaming jurisdiction in the country,” said Sunderman.

Gregory said gaming has brought the state 3.3 million dollars in revenue.

Want more WLOX news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Copyright 2022 WLOX. All rights reserved.