Tunica Casinos Take a Hit but Stay Dry

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They don't call them floating casinos for nothing.

To comply with state law, the nine casinos in Tunica County are built on floating barges in manmade lagoons, some several hundred yards from the Mississippi River. What was once considered a legalistic curiousity has, in this historic flood, been their salvation. While their parking lots and in some cases their hotel lobbies are wet, the casino floors are dry.

Valerie Morris, regional vice president for Caesars Entertainment, which has three Tunica casinos under the Harrah's brand, said Tuesday it will be two to six weeks before they reopen. Meanwhile, Harrah's employees are being paid through May, but the state of Mississippi and Tunica County stand to lose about $10 million taxes. The Tunica casinos closed on a rolling schedule, with the last closing on May 2nd.

Harrah's came to Tunica County in 1993.

"This is unprecedented," said Morris. "We're 24/7, so we have never closed."

The golf courses and hotels and amenities on the "dry" side of the levee remain open.

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