According to some research which was conducted, there have been some 8.8 million visitors from Florida and Alabama that had visited Mississippi casinos in just 2007 alone. Because of this and other reasons, it seemed like an ideal time to open a new casino. The performance so far has been so amazing that David Gehman, a tribal councilman who had voted against borrowing the $150 million to build the casino, now sees the potential in it. He even has said that projections are showing that the tribe may be able to pay off their debts in as short of a time frame as three years, as opposed to five years which was initially expected.
The struggling economy doesn’t seem to be harming the gaming income too much. Part of this success is said to be due to having a great location, which pulls in gamers from many surrounding areas, such as Mobile and Pensacola among others.
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians on the other hand, recently announced that it will be cutting operations and at least 500 jobs at the Golden Moon Hotel and Casino near Philadelphia. Despite the Wind Creek Casino having 1,600 electronic bingo games which are very similar to slot machines, they are still lacking class III games including poker, blackjack, and roulette. The reason that they are only a class II casino is due to local laws, according to Buford Rolin, a tribal chairman. He claims that the governor recently visited the hotel and admired it, but that the gaming issue was not discussed. All it would take to have class III gaming at the casino, would be an agreement or compact with the governor, and Rolin is hopeful that something can be worked out within the near future.
According to PCI officials, the main difference between electronic bingo machines and slot machines is that slot machines are independent, where the player is competing against the machine in a game of chance. Bingo would be players competing against each other, along with a computer in a game of chance since the bingo machines are linked into groups, but legal descriptions are still subject to some debate.