The Tunica County casinos used to be one of the only locations for gambling and legal sports betting since the early 1990s. Tunica was the South’s premier gambling location, with over eleven casinos in the county alone.

But since then, other states have begun legalizing gambling and sports betting within their jurisdictions, causing competition and a handful of Tunica brick-and-mortar casinos to shut down. Last June, the Resorts Casino Tunica closed its doors, making it the third casino to do so since 2014.

Only six casinos remain in Tunica, including Resorts Casino Tunica neighbor Hollywood Casino Tunica. Tunica County legalized gambling in 1992, peaking in 2001 with 13,000 jobs and high revenues. Revenues have fallen since 2006, and the casino now employs around 5,000 workers.

With neighboring states like Arkansas and Tennessee opening gambling restrictions, the scene does not look good for Tunica’s future. Memphis has continued to grow in popularity for gambling, and a 2019 Arkansas referendum approved four full-fledged casinos.

Moreover, Tennessee upped the competition with their new online regulated sports betting market, enjoying operators with big names like BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Tennessee Action 24/7. The first week of business brought in over $27 million in wagered capital.

The coronavirus added another stressor to the Tunica domestic gambling industry. After statewide lockdowns lifted, casinos were hopeful of returning to normalcy after seeing traffic beginning to trickle in.

But job market reports show that Tunica is still struggling to recover from the pandemic, with a 13.8 percent unemployment rate. President and CEO of the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau spoke on the issue.

“The gaming commission came out with the fact that we have to run at the 50 percent occupancy, but the numbers are strong, and we are lucky that NFL and College Football is all going. Sports betting is something that people are coming down for,” Franklin said.

When asked on the return of live shows and entertainment, Franklin said, “You can gamble anywhere in America today, it’s not like it was when we first started in the ’90s, and what separates you as a destination is the entertainment that we have here.”

But anyone who keeps up with us knows that one of the best options for Mississippians to gamble is using one of our recommended online Tunica casinos. These casinos operate internationally, so you do not have to worry about domestic restrictions, shutdowns, or the coronavirus. Our online Tunica casinos are industry-leading reputable gambling destinations.

Las Vegas Sun
FOX 13 Memphis