Bally’s Tunica Casino closed on Sunday, but due to lower flood forecasts along the Mississippi River reopened on Monday at 9 a.m., according to Mississippi Gaming Commission Executive Director Allen Godfrey.
Of the eight casinos in Tunica County Bally’s is one of the smallest and according to Godfrey, it typically encounters flooding problems before any of the others. However, it is now believed by regulators and casino operators that none of the casinos in the northern Mississippi County will be forced to close because of the current high water, he said. Godfrey added that it would be premature to say whether or not Vicksburg and Greenville casinos will be affected. However, Marty Pope, based in the National Weather Service’s Pearl, Mississippi, office, said that the lowered forecasts mean lessened impacts, which will be similar to the flood of 2008 around Vicksburg and Greenville. That’s still a significant amount of water, but not as much as 2011’s record-setting flood, according to the Associated Press.
The great Mississippi River flood of spring 2011 saw incredible amounts of water build up in the Ohio Valley and Mid Mississippi Valley river basins from excessive rain fall. As many as 357 homes sustained damage in the area known as Tunica Cut-Off. All of Tunica County’s casinos were shuttered and sustained some form of damage from flooding, in addition to several roads and several hundred acres of fields that were flooded as well. Record flooding was experienced and damages totaled $1,000,000,000, according to the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. Tunica County casinos experienced a significant loss of revenue, which aggravated declining business at the gambling halls.
The Natches Democrat was told by forecaster Anna Wolverton with the Jackson office of the National Weather Service that at approximately 6 p.m. on Saturday night river levels had reached 48 feet on the Natchez gauge, and by Sunday had increased to 48.55 feet.
On Saturday night Carthage Point Road was shut down, and once the water level reaches 50 feet, water on Silver Street would begin to rise, according to Adams County Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford. Wolverton said residents living around the levee should exercise caution. Last week Natchez Mayor pro tem Joyce ArceneauxMathis said property owners in low-lying areas have been in contact with the city.
Tunica County’s casinos are a major employer and attract visitors from nearby Memphis, West Memphis, Tennessee, Arkansas and all over the Southeast.