Georges cost Mississippi casinos $18M

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BILOXI, Miss. -- Mississippi's casinos lost at least $18 million in gaming revenue after being ordered to close while Hurricane Georges swept through the region, said Chuck Patton, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

With nine of the 11 casinos having reopened by last weekend, how much Georges will ultimately cost the casinos and tourism here in general is "tough to guess" and depends upon tourists' confidence in the infrastructure, Patton said. By infrastructure, Patton said he means traffic signals and signage, lodging accommodations and whether hot meals are readily available.

As to the casinos' preparedness, Patton expressed confidence in their ability to resume full operations this week.

All except Grand Casino Biloxi and Treasure Bay in Biloxi were slated to resume operations by the weekend.

Treasure Bay sustained glass and water damage, according to Bernie Burkholder, company president, and will reopen Oct. 8, as will Grand Casino Biloxi, according to a company officer

Grand Casino, whose Gulfport property reopened Oct. 2, said it anticipates that the closings will hurt financial results for both the third and fourth quarters of this year.

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