A company is closing its second casino in Tunica, Mississippi, leaving one commentator with many questions.
Caesars Entertainment of Las Vegas plans to close the Tunica Roadhouse Casino at January's end. The company cites declining revenues for the closing. Caesars closed the massive Harrah's Tunica Hotel & Casino in 2014.
"It's a sad day in Tunica County, I know, but this is what happens when we pin all of our hopes on something like gambling," says William Perkins, editor of The Baptist Record, the weekly news journal of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board. "It was obvious it wasn't going to work from the beginning, and now that has come true."
According to Perkins, a similar demise has taken place at another gambling mecca in the U.S.
"Anyone could have studied Atlantic City, [New Jersey], and understood what was eventually going to happen in Tunica County," he continues. "It's gone from 11 casinos down to nine casinos and now eight [in Tunica]. What's the bottom? What is this doing to the tax base there? We should never have pinned our hopes to gambling in the first place."
All things considered, Perkins says it would behoove the public to come to a greater understanding of just how bad gambling is for the economy – and the families – of a local area.
"But more than that I think we need to ask our public officials 'Why did you vote for gambling?' [and] 'What is gambling going to do for our area?'" he recommends. "Don't take platitudes for answers; ask for hard facts that they should have if they're going to tell us that casinos are our economic salvation."
Some of the 377 employees of the Tunica Roadhouse may be hired at Caesars-owned Horseshoe in Tunica.
According to The Associated Press, revenues have declined for years at Tunica County's eight casinos, partly because of increased gambling competition in nearby Arkansas and other states. In November, Arkansas voters approved a referendum allowing four full-fledged casinos.