Tax money from legal casino gambling now appreciated

OK, Mississippians get with it. Roll them bones, feed those slots. Last year you let Mississippi drop from third to fourth among the biggest gambling states. Let Indiana get ahead of us.

Your state is depending on you to make those casino cash registers jingle. Budgeters need at least $175 million in gaming taxes to help keep government running. Sales and income taxes are in the dumper. At least, there was a gaming up-tick in February, but that’s usual because of income tax refunds.

It’s hard to realize: This year marks 20 years since the Legislature made an end-run around the Mississippi Baptist Convention and surprised everyone by legalizing local option gambling boats which didn’t even have to move. Now, the state has 30 casinos in six counties along the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast.

As has happened before, legal gambling came through the backdoor of the Legislature. It took two sessions in 1990 to get both Mississippi River and Gulf Coast counties included under a new State Gaming Commission law.

Clarion-Ledger
3/26/10