The management at Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant, the $62 million Biloxi, Miss.-based gaming resort that opened in May 2012, has informed its employees that the property will likely shutter by mid-September.
Representatives for Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant blamed the closure on the failure to renegotiate the property’s current lease, which was needed to secure financing for a planned $64 million hotel tower and overall refurbishment.
“The story here is without a hotel, we cannot operate in a competitive market," Doug Shipley, CEO of Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant, told the Associated Press.
According to local reports, Margaritaville, one of the Gulf Coast’s smallest gaming facilities, was also hampered by its remote location and inability to erect marquees and billboard advertising along U.S. 90, the main route for the region’s casino traffic. However, it was the lack of amenities and attractions that likely led to the property’s demise, according to local observers.
"The more amenities the better," Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission told the Biloxi Sun Herald. “The new lazy river at Hollywood Casino Bay St. Louis, the baseball stadium in Biloxi and the executive miniature golf courses planned at Scarlet Pearl Casino are what will make people who come to South Mississippi for a conference bring their families and stay an extra day.”
"Even a name brand that strong [Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville] is not enough in this market," Godfrey added.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission now requires casino developers to have hotels and amenities in place before opening.
Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant will be the second Mississippi casino to close this year. Harrah’s Tunica Hotel & Casino shut its doors in June.