JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Mississippi casino revenue kept falling in April, with gamblers losing less than in any other April since 1998.
Mississippi Department of Revenue figures show statewide casino revenue fell 6 percent to $176.3 million.
Year-over-year casino revenue has fallen in every month since July 2012. The state's casinos, over the last 12 months, have collected only about 75 percent of the money they collected in 2007, the peak year for gambling revenues.
The numbers exclude Choctaw Indian casinos, which aren't required to report winnings to the state.
The 18 river casinos from Tunica to Natchez won $90.6 million, down 3 percent from the $93.7 million they won in April 2012. The 12 coastal casinos won $85.7 million from gamblers, down 8 percent from the $93.4 million they won in January 2012.
The sharp April decline followed a good March on the coast, where revenues had risen 1 percent.
The declines have been steeper, in general, along the river. Though the new Magnolia Bluffs Casino opened in Natchez last year, a casino closed in Vicksburg. Plus, the parent companies of several casinos in Vicksburg and Tunica have faced financial distress. Part of the recent weakness at Tunica and Lula casinos has been competition from expanded gambling venues in Arkansas.
The continued downdraft is hurting not only state and local tax receipts but employment. In January, for example, Boyd Gaming Corp. laid off 100 people from its Sam's Town casino in Tunica, according to figures from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
Next door, Louisiana's state-licensed casinos won $196.4 million from gamblers in April, up almost 3 percent from the $191.5 million that they won in the same month last year.
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