Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant
|Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant|
|Front view of casino, June 2012|
|Address||160 5th Street|
|Opening date||May 22, 2012|
|Total gaming space||21,000 sq ft (2,000 m2)|
The Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant is a casino and restaurant in Biloxi, Mississippi in the United States that opened on May 22, 2012. The 68,000-square-foot (6,300 m2) property is in the "Back Bay" area of Biloxi. It is owned by singer Jimmy Buffett in conjunction with other investors.
Buffett, a native of nearby Pascagoula, tried to bring the Margaritaville brand to Biloxi as early as 2000, when discussions were held on building a hotel and amphitheater on 12 acres of beachfront land between the Casino Magic and Grand Casino.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Grand Casinos founder Tom Brosig came out of retirement and began looking for land to develop a casino, citing a desire to help rebuild the community. He settled on the Back Bay site where the Margaritaville Casino would ultimately open. According to Brosig, he nearly reached an agreement to use the Margaritaville brand in 2006.
Buffett instead joined with Harrah's Entertainment in 2007 to begin construction on the $700-million Margaritaville Casino Resort on the site of the Casino Magic and Grand Casino, which had both been destroyed by Katrina. Buffett was partly motivated by a desire to help the region's economic recovery from Katrina. Construction was suspended, however, in 2008, due to the global financial crisis and Harrah's near-bankruptcy after being taken private.
Meanwhile, Brosig continued his efforts on the Back Bay site, but had difficulty raising financing due to the financial crisis and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He was eventually able to assemble a total investment of $63 million, with "20 or 22" equity investors. A 20-year agreement was reached for the Margaritaville brand.
Buffett and Brosig unveiled their plans in 2011, describing a 68,000 sq ft (6,300 m2), $48-million Margaritaville Casino at the former East Harrison County Industrial Park, without the involvement of Harrah's (now Caesars Entertainment). Groundbreaking was expected in April 2011 with a construction time of 9 months.
In March 2011, plans for the location won fast track approval from the city of Biloxi but hit a speed bump with the Mississippi Gaming Commission. However, on April 7, Buffett appeared before the Mississippi Gaming Commission and explained why his latest plan for a Biloxi casino should be approved. Commissioners listened and then gave his project the okay.
Other Margaritaville casinos
On March 30, 2011, BuffettNews.com reported that the Las Vegas Margaritaville at the Flamingo will be expanding to include its very own branded casino, which will be located adjacent to the existing Margaritaville Cafe. The casino is scheduled to open October 1, 2011.
On June 22, 2011, Paradise Casino LLC unveiled plans for a Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Casino and Hotel to be built east of Shreveport, Louisiana in neighboring Bossier City. The complex, a $170 million, 400-room resort, would include an 18- to 20-story hotel tower, 1,000-seat entertainment complex with a VIP balcony and an outdoor tropical area visible to the north from the Louisiana Boardwalk.
On November 18, 2011 Bossier City Voters passed the bill, which will start groundbreaking for the new casino in January, 2012. The project is estimated to take 14-18 months to complete, and will provide more than 1,200 jobs to the Ark-La-Tex.
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