CASINO

Mississippi coastal casinos shut as Tropical Storm Gordon looms

TAGs: mississippi, Pinnacle Entertainment, sports betting

mississippi-casinos-shut-tropical-storm-gordonMississippi’s coastal casinos have shut down their gaming floors as Tropical Storm Gordon bears down on the state.

On Tuesday, the Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) issued a brief statement via its website, saying that Mississippi coastal casinos – 11 of the state’s gaming venues, including most of the larger operations – would close at 5pm “due to deminishing [sic] weather conditions from Tropical Storm Gordon.”

Customers who have already booked into their rooms at the casinos’ hotels will be allowed to remain in place, and guests may take advantage of the properties’ other amenities, but gaming floors will remain off-limits until the weather gods sound the all-clear.

The storm is supposed to make landfall Tuesday night around 8pm local time just west of Gulfport. As of 5pm, the storm was generating winds of 70 miles per hour, just shy of Category 1 hurricane status, while rainfall of seven inches or higher is forecast for some areas.

When Mississippi released its sports betting regulations in June, it authorized mobile wagering on casino property, which theoretically would permit a casino’s guests to continue to wager through the storm from restaurants or their hotel rooms. Trouble is, no Mississippi casino appears to have launched mobile wagering yet, so tough noogies.

The storm might not affect (at least, not to the same degree) Pinnacle Entertainment’s Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg, which is located further inland on the border with Louisiana. The Ameristar property launched its new sports betting operation last Friday, with former University of Mississippi and New Orleans Saint running back Deuce McAllister on hand to place the ceremonial first wager.

Pinnacle has dubbed its Vicksburg casino’s sportsbook The End Zone, and the company claims it’s the “largest full-service sports wagering experience in central Mississippi.” It’s also Pinnacle’s first sports betting operation outside Nevada, and CEO Anthony Sanfilippo said the company “will continue to work to extend this important strategy” to other Pinnacle properties in betting-friendly states.

The bulk of Pinnacle’s operations were sold to Penn National Gaming last December in a three-way deal that saw four Pinnacle venues acquired by Boyd Gaming.

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