You’d have to go back all the way to 2008, before the national recession hit the Coast, to find a better year than 2015 for South Mississippi casinos.

The opening of The Scarlet Pearl casino in D’Iberville on December 10th increases the number of casinos on the Mississippi Gulf Coast to 12, and strong performances by them helped the year’s gross revenue from casinos make it to the $1.14 billion mark. That just beats 2009’s total revenue of $1.11 billion, improving on the $1.08 billion won in 2014 by 6 percent on the year, according to the Sun Herald.

Meanwhile, river casinos experienced their worst year since 1994, when the area’s first casinos opened, with revenues slipping below $1 billion to $954.0 million for the second year. That is a decrease of 3.5 percent below 2014. Strong performances by casinos on the Coast helped the total casino revenue in Mississippi increase to $2.04 billion, or 1.4 percent over 2014 levels. The first time since 2009, revenue from the Coast topped $100 million twice in 2015.

Casinos on the Coast typically experience strong numbers in December. The opening of the Scarlet pearl increased the money won from $84.6 million a year ago to $90.5 million, according to a report from the state Department of Revenue on Wednesday (pdf). The state’s revenue numbers don’t include Choctaw Indian casinos, which do not report their winnings to the state.

Investments in beautifying the Bay area are also being made by other casinos in the immediate area. A casino across the Back Bay has been a long-standing desire and the Scarlet Pearl’s opening in December was the culmination of that.

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