136 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI from the 1970s to the present. In Claiborne County, Mississippi Power & Light built the Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Plant. The plant became operational in 1985 and provided 2,580 construction jobs and millions of dollars in taxes. However, 70 percent of the revenue went into the state treasury and to forty-two other counties after passage of a law requiring that it be shared with the state and with those counties buying power from the plant. Claiborne County sued to regain its revenues and lost in the Mississippi Supreme Court. However, it continued the suit in higher courts until 1990 when the legislature revised the law. The revised sharing plan gave Claiborne County a one- time payment of $4 million, plus $1 million annually for all collections after the first $16 million, plus 10 percent of the remaining balance for ten years. RIVERBOAT GAMBLING Gambling in Mississippi is centuries old and began with Choctaw, Chickasaw, and other Native American people in the region. In the 1790s, people would place bets on horses and jockeys at the Fleetfield Race Track in Natchez. By the time Mississippi reached statehood in 1817, gambling was already ingrained into the culture. During the 1800s, Mississippians traveled to the Under-the-Hill District in Natchez and the Landing in Vicksburg. The river cities offered billiards, card games, horse racing, and cockfighting at their ports. As steamboats began to be replaced with railroads at the end of the nineteenth century, the Under- the Hill District and the Landing began to lose popularity and visitors. In 1990, the Mississippi legislature passed a Mississippi River and coastal gambling bill. By the late 1990s, the economy began to stabilize and the casinos began to thrive. Today, Vicksburg is home to four casinos and Natchez is home to one casino. operation since 1882 producing cottonseed oil. For ten years, it was owned and operated by Archer, Daniels, Midland. However, in 2002, a declining market for cottonseed oil led to its closure. Vicksburg, still a rail and river transportation center and located on an interstate highway, was in better shape than Natchez and Port Gibson. In 2002, Exide and Vicksburg Chemical announced that they would be closing their Vicksburg plants. However, Calsonic and Yorozu Automotive Mississippi Inc. were opening new ones. According to Vicksburg Main Street director Rosalie Theobald, “With tourism, the Corps of Engineers and Waterways Experiment Station, a strong industrial and retail base, when you get hit in one area you just about can absorb it in another.” There have been a number of efforts to attract industry PHOTO COURTESY OF MAGNOLIA BLUFFS CASINO AND HOTEL NATCHEZ PHOTO COURTESY AMERISTAR CASINO HOTEL VICKSBURG