Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant
|Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant Biloxi|
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 was 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. The casino closed on September 15, 2014.
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.
On May 22, 2012, the brand new Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant opened to the public at 8pm, featuring 820 slot machines, 18 table games, two levels of dining decks, and a marina with waterside entertainment, food, and drinks.
In June 2013, Margaritaville Biloxi became the first casino in Mississippi gaming history to offer outdoor gaming which includes three blackjack tables at LandShark Landing and Marina.
In December 2013, Doug Shipley, President & CEO, announced Margaritaville Biloxi will break ground on a new hotel facility in the spring with anticipated completion a year later. The new hotel would feature 250 rooms, including 170 deluxe guest rooms and 80 two- and three-bedroom suites. In addition, they would become one of the first resort properties to offer time-share units through a major international partner.
In July 2014, the casino announced that it would likely close by September, because of an unresolved dispute with the landlord that was blocking the financing needed to build the hotel. On September 15, 2014, Margaritaville Biloxi officially closed.
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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