Competition, impact of recession take the shine off Tunica's casino market

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The June 2 closing of Harrah's Tunica Hotel & Casino may punctuate the end of what boosters called the Tunica (TOO' ni kuh) Miracle, which brought 13,000 casino jobs to a slice of the Mississippi Delta.

Because of competition and the recession, casinos that won $1.2 billion a year from gamblers in 2006 saw their take fall to $700 million in 2013. The number of jobs has fallen by more than half.

Sabina Johnson is one of nearly 1,000 Harrah's workers out of a job. She says work is scarce and fears she won't be able to equal her pay as a casino cook.

Webster Franklin of the Tunica Convention & Visitors Bureau says a 2011 study calls for Tunica to diversify its tourism offerings beyond casinos.