Third Tunica County casino closes since 2014, company cites Arkansas competition

Local News

TUNICA COUNTY, Miss. (localmemphis.com) — Another casino company in Tunica County is folding, causing job losses in what was a booming industry in the 1990s.

This is the third one to close since 2014 in that area, taking along with it 200 jobs. It’s the latest concern for the county that’s already seen a dive in this industry’s success. 

“Why is it closed?” questioned Willie Carter, a resident of Robinsonville where the casino is located. “Why don’t we have anybody around here?”

That’s what local and state leaders are trying to address. Resorts Casino Tunica the latest gambling hall set to close in the area. 

“I noticed the last few months that I’ve been coming there’s been fewer people in the casinos,” said Vickie Hale, an Alabama resident said.

“It just doesn’t seem as busy,” said Hale. “But people aren’t winning a great big deal either.”

The company’s owner, Penn National Gaming, attributes the loss to increased competition from gaming expansions in Arkansas. Southland Casino and Racing will begin breaking ground for an upgraded casino complex and high-rise hotel at the end of this month.

In January, Caesar’s Entertainment closed its Tunica Roadhouse. Harrah’s folded when it was in bankruptcy in 2014.

“I think a lot of people are going to these casinos for various reasons,” said Southaven resident Cecillia Derrington. “Not just for gambling but just to enjoy a nice meal. When you close one, you’re going to close a lot of the jobs but areas people can visit.”

At its peak, casino employment in 2001 was at 13,000. It is now less than 5,000. Visitors say the area is a shadow of what it was before.

“The outlet in Tunica, I shopped there before too and it’s sad to drive by and see a lot of vacant buildings,” said Derrington.

Resorts Casino is set to close on June 30th. Penn National Gaming plans to relocate Resorts workers to its other two casinos in the area.

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