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Biloxi Announces Tentative Re-opening Plans for City's Casino Resorts

GCN   filed 11/17/05

Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway says a portion of the the city’s casino resort industry, which attracted millions of visitors and employed thousands of workers, will begin re-opening to the public in a matter of weeks. Most of the remainder of the casinos in the city will reopen in 2006.  In a news release, Holloway said he has been encouraged by discussions with representatives of the nine casino resorts in Biloxi.

The following is the planned schedule of re-openings, which are subject to approval by the city and Mississippi Gaming Commission:

Imperial Palace is aiming for a Dec. 20 re-opening of its casino and 1,000 refurbished hotel rooms. Some of IP's amenities, such as its movie theaters and buffet, are open now.

The Isle of Capri Casino Resort plans to re-open a temporary casino Dec. 26 inside its new hotel. The Isle also plans to open as many as 600 hotel rooms Dec. 26.

The Palace Casino Resort (photo upper right)is aiming to open casino operations Dec. 30 in the first and second floor of its hotel, and the resort also hopes to re-open its 234 hotel rooms by that date. The Palace plans to open its own golf course in Spring '06.

Beau Rivage Resort & Casino (photo left) is aiming to re-open its entire resort Aug. 29,2006, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The resort also plans to open a new golf course in autumn 2006.

Boomtown Casino hopes to open a new gaming facility that would adjoin its former casino within six months.

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which had initially hoped to open for post-Katrina business in Summer '06, but plans are on hold temporarily. The casino's owners are embroiled in a variety of legal issues with its disbursement bank and filed a Complaint for Injunctive Relief against U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee and disbursement agent, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi Southern Division.

Treasure Bay Casino Resort plans to re-open in June '06, with gaming operations located in its hotel, which is also scheduled to be re-designed.and refurbished.

Although Harrah’s Entertainment, which operates the Grand Casino, has not formally announced a re-opening date, Holloway said executives have told him that Biloxi could expect to see a “spectacular resort” since on-shore gaming has been legalized.

No information was available on Casino Magic’s plans in Biloxi, but a 10th casino resort, Bacaran Bay, may present its site plan to the city in the next couple of months and in January seek gaming commission approval to move forward..

"The announcements that we've seen from the operators of these resorts is another indication of the resiliency of this city," Holloway said. "We're seeing these announcements in the wake of this city having been struck by the largest natural disaster in history.

“This,” the mayor declared, “is what we mean when we tell people we’re going to meet this unprecedented natural disaster with an unprecedented response. It has been and will continue to be a challenging task, but we’ve shown we’re up to it.”

The mayor, however, noted that the re-openings are pending proper approvals from the City of Biloxi and Mississippi Gaming commission.

“There is certainly a good bit of work to be done before these resorts will be ready to open their doors in some cases,” Holloway said, “but these target dates should be encouraging news to the thousands of employees and millions of visitors who are anxiously watching our progress here in Biloxi.”

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