Tunica-Biloxi Tribe resumes quarterly profit distributions
For the first time since 2016, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe has made a quarterly distribution of its gaming profits to local government agencies.
The tribe’s gaming compact with the state requires that it distribute six percent of its Paragon Casino net profits to six parishwide entities and the nine parish municipalities.
It is basically a “profit-sharing” formula to benefit local governments.
However, for the past several quarters the casino has reported operating at a net loss. With zero profit, there was no distribution to the local agencies.
Six percent of zero is zero.
Although the tribe has not been making quarterly distributions, it has been making grants to local governments and non-profit organizations involved in civic improvement efforts. One of the latest such grants was $25,000 to the Avoyelles Commission of Tourism (ACT).
“It is our mission here at the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe and Paragon Casino to be a great community partner,” Tribal Chairman Marshall Pierite said. “Our goal is to remain supportive of parishwide and community enrichment programs. It is our shared vision that all of these endeavors are possible.”
Pierite praised the Paragon’s 1,000-plus employees for their “hard work and dedication” and to the communities in and around Avoyelles “for their patronage and support.
“It takes teamwork to make the dream work,” Pierite added.
Figures provided from the tribe show it made $5,256 in distributions in 2016, $139,980 in 2015 and $101,968 in 2014. There were no quarterly distributions in 2017 and 2018.
Under the state gaming compact with the Tunica-Biloxi, the ACT gets the first $12,500 when there is a distribution. The total distribution was $95,008. After ACT took its payment, there was $82,508.
The six parishwide agencies divided $61,881 and the municipalities received parts of $20,627.
In this distribution, the Police Jury received $28,052.72 (34 percent), the Law Enforcement District received $19,389.38 (23.5 percent), the School Board received $9.900.96 (12 percent), the District Attorney’s Office received $3,300.32 (4 percent), 12th Judicial District courts received $825.08 (1 percent) and the Indigent Defender Board received $412.54 (0.5 percent). The nine municipalities shared 25 percent of the total.
Marksville was given $4,476.06 (21.7 percent of the municipalities’ share), Mansura received $2,887.78 (14 percent), Bunkie received $2,846.53 (13.8 percent), Hessmer received $2,207.09 (10.7 percent), Moreauville and Simmesport both received $2,000.82 (9.7 percent each), Cottonport received $1,815.18 (8.8 percent), and Evergreen and Plaucheville both received $1,196.37 (5.8 percent each).
“We believe this will be an ongoing thing,” District Attorney Charles Riddle said. “I believe the tribe has solved its problems that kept it from showing a profit.”