NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - For 10 days now, the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s once-thriving casino industry has been locked shut. Coronavirus has decimated one of the region’s major economic engines taking thousands of jobs with it for the foreseeable future.
For the first time since Katrina, all 12 casinos in the Mississippi Gulf Coast area are closed. The shut down began on March 16th and many are starting to feel the pain.
Some casinos have committed to keeping their employee but many more are out of luck.
“We have lost thousands of jobs. Once it’s over, we must do all we can to bring back those jobs,” Milton Segarra, CEO of Coastal Mississippi, said.
The casinoes now sit like huge empty monoliths on a strip normally jammed with traffic.
In just under 30 years, the Mississippi casino industry has grown into a monster generating $1.3 billion here on the Gulf coast alone.
The Mississippi Cruise ship industry is also shut down, and though the port and the beaches are still open the casino shutdown is devastating.
“What we are doing is sending a message to visitors in Louisiana. It is our number one source.. stay at Home don’t cancel reservations, but postpone them,” Segarra said.
And they hope to be open for business again around the middle of next month. Although the beaches are open, no gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed.