GULF COAST STILL SEEKS LARGE-SCALE CASINO RESORT DEVELOPMENT
June 7, 2011
The Mississippi Gaming Commission’s recent approval of the stripped-down Margaritaville casino project should not be viewed as carte blanche for more smaller scale gaming enterprises along the Gulf Coast, according to speakers at the Southern Gaming Summit conference and trade show, which took place last month at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center in Biloxi, Miss.
When first announced by Caesars Entertainment in 2007, the $700 million Jimmy Buffett-inspired Margaritaville Casino & Resort was to include a 100,000-square-foot casino, 800-room hotel, 250,000 square feet of retail space, meeting rooms, full service spa and a massive pool complex on 46 acres along Biloxi’s casino row. The Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant plan eventually approved by the MGC in April calls for $48 million facility with a 68,000-square-foot casino, restaurants, pubs, retail space, an events center and an 18-slip marina to be developed by the Brosig Group on Biloxi’s Back Bay. The property is scheduled to open in the spring of 2012.
Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, lauded the Margaritaville group for taking the steps necessary to secure financing and develop a smaller version of the original project despite the current economic environment. That said, Gregory added that the goal of the MGC is to promote larger-scale projects that will bring more amenities and hotel development to the region.
“It’s a fine line,” Gregory told the audience at Southern Gaming Summit. “Do we want to turn the Gulf Coast into a tier one destination or become a mom and pop casino market that does not bring in tourism? We need people willing to develop and invest… not those looking to put 25 slots at a restaurant.”
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