To celebrate the occasion of Mississippi’s 25th anniversary as a gaming jurisdiction, the Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Association, our partners in the event, produced a session featuring the pioneers of riverboat gaming, which included such visionaries as Lyle Berman and Jack Binion. Headliners also included Jim Allen of Hard Rock (whose tenure at the Trump Organization in the 1980s is the topic of newfound fascination) as the opening keynote speaker, and Felix Rappaport, now the top executive at Foxwoods. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:
Since we first started in Mississippi, the industry has matured. In many of these markets, and the East Coast as well, it’s a zero-sum game. Somebody opens a new casino, in most cases, it hurts the other casinos. There’s not a need in most places for another casino. There is a need for the casinos to mature themselves. When we first started all you needed was slot machines, table games and good food. But today you have to add more amenities. I think on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Tunica… they have to add more amenities, as Las Vegas did, in order to stay ahead of the other states that will be adding gaming as well.