Margaritaville Resort Biloxi

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Margaritaville Resort Biloxi
Former names Casino Magic Biloxi
General information
Location Biloxi, Mississippi
Address 195 Beach Boulevard
Opened June 5, 1993 (as Casino Magic)
June 23, 2016 (as Margaritaville)</small
Closed August 28, 2005 (as Casino Magic)
Owner Cono Caranna
Other information
Number of rooms 373
Website
margaritavilleresortbiloxi.com

Margaritaville Resort Biloxi is a resort hotel in Biloxi on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It previously operated with a dockside casino as Casino Magic Biloxi Casino & Hotel, until it was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The property has a 373-room hotel, located on 10.6 acres (4.3 ha) of land.[1]

Casino Magic and its neighbors, the Isle of Capri Biloxi and Grand Casino Biloxi made up a district known as "Casino Row".[2]

History[edit]

Casino Magic[edit]

Casino Magic Corp., operator of a casino by the same name in the Gulf Coast town of Bay St. Louis, unveiled plans in January 1993 for a second casino barge, to be located in Biloxi next to the Isle of Capri casino at Point Cadet. The casino would be three stories, with a companion five-story floating parking garage.[3] The casino opened on June 5,[4] at a cost of $55 million.[5] Additional space opened in December, bringing the total to 55,000 square feet (5,100 m2) of gaming, with 1,160 slot machines, 69 table games, and a keno parlor.[6]

Regulations required Casino Magic to build a 250-room hotel or spend at least a quarter of its investment on land, but the company met this requirement by developing its Bay St. Louis property, where it built a hotel, marina, RV park, restaurants, and a golf course.[7] Without such amenities, the Biloxi casino largely relied on bus tours and day-trippers from nearby states.[8] A $9-million parking garage was built in 1994, with plans to build a $15-million hotel on top of it,[9] but the company wavered on those plans because of the high expense.[10] In 1995 it bought Casino One Corp., which held a lease and option on 4.5 acres (1.8 ha) of land adjacent to Casino Magic, from the Gaming Corporation of America for $13 million in stock.[7] The land was initially earmarked for parking, with a possible hotel and retail complex in the future.[7]

Finally, though, the company pressed forward with the hotel on top of the parking garage, part of a $22-million plan begun in 1996, including a new facade and restaurant.[11] The 378-room hotel opened on May 1, 1998.[12] The company hoped it would help attract more high-end players from among the new overnight guests drawn by expanded jet service at the Gulfport-Biloxi Airport.[8]

In October 1998, the property came under the ownership of Hollywood Park, Inc. (later Pinnacle Entertainment), which bought Casino Magic Corp. for $340 million.[13] Pinnacle quickly sold off the Bay St. Louis property, along with its Boomtown Biloxi casino, enabling it to focus resources on Casino Magic Biloxi.[14] Plans included two new parking garages to be built jointly with the Isle of Capri and Grand Casino,[15] and an additional 300-room hotel, possibly to be developed with Jimmy Buffett under his Margaritaville brand.[16] Construction plans for the new hotel were pushed back to 2006, though, while Pinnacle focused on building the L'Auberge du Lac Resort in Louisiana.[17]

Destruction by Hurricane Katrina[edit]

Casino Magic's shuttered hotel, a year after Hurricane Katrina washed away the casino barge. The Isle of Capri Casino is seen in the background.

Planning for a hurricane strike began early in the property's history. The company hoped to install an anchoring system in Biloxi's Back Bay, where the barges could weather a storm away from the open sea, but the plan was rejected by local officials who feared the vessels could become debris, and damage homes or bridges.[18][19] Instead, Casino Magic installed a massive mooring system, and acquired a submersible barge that could be sunk offshore from the barges to act as a breakwater.[20] The first hurricane to strike the region after the opening of casinos was Hurricane Georges in 1998, a Category 2 storm which caused $2.5 million in damage to Casino Magic.[21]

In 2005, with Hurricane Katrina approaching, the state ordered all coastal casinos to close on August 28.[22] The storm made landfall the next day, and the storm surge carried the Casino Magic barge 400 feet from its mooring spot,[23] leveling a pawn shop across Beach Boulevard,[24] and sections of the hotel building were destroyed.[25]

Pinnacle initially said it would rebuild the casino,[23] but later said it might instead put the insurance settlement money into its two casinos being developed in St. Louis,[26] Lumière Place and River City Casino. It ultimately decided to exit the Biloxi market, giving Casino Magic plus $25 million to Harrah's Entertainment, owner of the adjacent Grand Casino, in exchange for a hotel and two riverboat casinos, heavily damaged by Hurricane Rita, in Lake Charles, Louisiana.[27][28][29]

Margaritaville[edit]

Harrah's joined with Jimmy Buffett in 2007 to begin construction on the $700-million Margaritaville Casino Resort,[30] which would incorporate the Casino Magic hotel tower.[31] Construction was suspended, however, in 2008, due to the financial crisis and Harrah's near-bankruptcy after being taken private.[32] In 2011, Buffett announced new plans for what would become the Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant, elsewhere in Biloxi, marking the end of his project with Harrah's.[33] The city later declared the hotel tower a blighted building, demanding that it be repaired or demolished.[34]

After the Margaritaville Casino closed in 2014, developer Cono Caranna announced new plans for a Margaritaville Resort on the Casino Magic site.[35] The family-friendly, non-gaming resort opened on June 23, 2016.[36]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Annual Report on Form 10-K (Report). Pinnacle Entertainment. March 16, 2005. p. 11. Retrieved 2012-05-27. 
  2. ^ "3 Biloxi casinos extend marketing partnership". Mobile Register. via NewsBank. June 28, 2001. Retrieved 2012-05-27.  (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Casino Magic announces plans for casino in Biloxi". The Advocate. Baton Rouge: via NewsBank. AP. January 6, 1993. Retrieved 2012-05-24.  (subscription required)
  4. ^ "Magic issues annual report". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. March 5, 1994. Retrieved 2012-05-24.  (subscription required)
  5. ^ Snyder, David (September 27, 1993). "Bay St. Louis casino has room to grow". The Times-Picayune. New Orleans: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-24. His organization has invested $55 million in Casino Magic Biloxi, which opened in June...  (subscription required)
  6. ^ "Casino Magic expands casino operations in Biloxi" (Press release). Casino Magic. December 20, 1993. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  7. ^ a b c Taylor, Louise (May 31, 1995). "Magic completes Casino One deal". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-25.  (subscription required)
  8. ^ a b Palermo, Dave. "Casinos add magic to coast". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank.  (subscription required)
  9. ^ Hughlett, Mike (August 28, 1994). "The game it is a-changin: Casinos must learn which ones to hold, and which ones to fold". The Times-Picayune. New Orleans: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-24.  (subscription required)
  10. ^ Taylor, Louise (January 20, 1995). "Casino has 'magic' touch at hearing". The Sun Herald. Biloxi. Retrieved 2012-05-24.  (subscription required)
  11. ^ McKinney, Kevin (March 2, 1996). "Magic in the works: Hotel just a part of Biloxi casino's plan". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via Newsbank. Retrieved 2012-05-25.  (subscription required)
  12. ^ Palermo, Dave (May 31, 1998). "Casinos likely to stand up to Category 3 storm". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-25.  (subscription required)
  13. ^ Palermo, Dave (October 17, 1998). "Casino Magic sale goes through". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-25.  (subscription required)
  14. ^ Palermo, Dave (August 10, 2000). "Penn finishes casino purchase". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-27.  (subscription required)
  15. ^ Palermo, Dave (December 31, 2000). "Is gambling industry headed for slowdown?". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-27.  (subscription required)
  16. ^ Palermo, Dave (August 2, 2000). "Margaritaville plans still alive". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-27.  (subscription required)
  17. ^ Boone, Timothy (November 4, 2003). "Biloxi Magic delays tower". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-27.  (subscription required)
  18. ^ "Residents fear Coast casinos". The Advocate. Baton Rouge: via NewsBank. November 19, 1993. Retrieved 2012-05-25.  (subscription required)
  19. ^ "Corps denies plea for casino harbor". Mobile Register. via NewsBank. AP. December 3, 1993. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  20. ^ Patriquin, Ronni (August 3, 1995). "Hurricane shuts down Mississippi casinos Isle of Capri heads for safe harbor; other gaming palaces give first test of previously untried emergency procedures". Mobile Register. via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-25.  (subscription required)
  21. ^ Palermo, David (October 10, 1998). "Biloxi Grand floored". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-25.  (subscription required)
  22. ^ Wilemon, Tom (August 28, 2005). "Gaming Commission closes casinos". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-27.  (subscription required)
  23. ^ a b Stutz, Howard (September 3, 2005). "Pinnacle executive says Casino Magic will be rebuilt". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2012-05-27. 
  24. ^ Smith, Wes (September 1, 2005). "Biloxi Bay casinos crash ashore". Orlando Sentinel. via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-27.  (subscription required)
  25. ^ Candance Rondeaux; Justin George; Thomas C. Tobin (August 31, 2005). "Everyone out: New Orleans drenched and desperate". St. Petersburg Times. via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-27.  (subscription required)
  26. ^ Wilemon, Tom (November 9, 2005). "Has Pinnacle Entertainment lost its interest in Biloxi?". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-27.  (subscription required)
  27. ^ "Pinnacle, Harrah's plan to exchange damaged casinos". Las Vegas Sun. AP. May 31, 2006. Retrieved 2012-05-27. 
  28. ^ Millhollon, Michelle (August 16, 2006). "Pinnacle weighs casino location". The Advocate. Baton Rouge: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-27.  (subscription required)
  29. ^ "Harrah's completes Casino Magic Biloxi buy" (Press release). Harrah's Entertainment. November 10, 2006. Retrieved 2012-05-27. 
  30. ^ Perez, Mary (August 14, 2007). "Margaritaville breaks ground". The Sun Herald. Gulfport, MS: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-23.  (subscription required)
  31. ^ Perez, Mary (December 21, 2011). "Derelict Casino Magic hotel tower added to blighted list". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-27.  (subscription required)
  32. ^ Burnham, Maria (June 26, 2010). "Hopes fade for quick restart on Harrah's casino". The Tribune. Greeley, CO. AP. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  33. ^ Perez, Mary (January 13, 2011). "New Margaritaville in the works". The Sun Herald. Gulfport, MS: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-23.  (subscription required)
  34. ^ Perez, Mary (May 3, 2012). "Caesars writes off unfinished Biloxi casino". The Sun Herald. Biloxi: via NewsBank. Retrieved 2012-05-27.  (subscription required)
  35. ^ "Margaritaville returning to Biloxi, without a casino". ABC News. AP. April 4, 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-04. 
  36. ^ Perez, Mary (June 23, 2016). "Margaritaville comes back big in Biloxi". The Sun Herald. Biloxi. Retrieved 2016-06-30. 

External links[edit]