Resorts Casino Tunica

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Coordinates: 34°48′56″N 90°25′03″W / 34.815477°N 90.417579°W / 34.815477; -90.417579

Resorts Casino Tunica
Location Tunica Resorts, Mississippi
Address 1100 Casino Strip Boulevard
Opening date1994
Closing dateJune 30, 2019
No. of rooms201
Total gaming space35,000 sq ft (3,300 m2)
Signature attractionsRiver Bend Links golf course
Notable restaurants61 Grille Steakhouse
EATs
Delta Blues Buffet
Casino typeRiverboat
OwnerGaming & Leisure Properties
Operating license holderPenn National Gaming
Previous namesSouthern Belle Casino
Harrah's Tunica Mardi Gras Casino
Renovated in1996, 2005, 2014
Websiteresortstunica.com

Resorts Casino Tunica, formerly Southern Belle Casino and Harrah's Tunica Mardi Gras Casino, was a 201-room hotel and a 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) casino located in Tunica Resorts, Mississippi. It was one of three casinos located in the "Casino Strip" area, along with Sam's Town and Hollywood Casino. Resorts was owned by Gaming & Leisure Properties and operated by Penn National Gaming.

History[edit]

Southern Belle Casino (1994-1995)[edit]

The casino was developed by Belle Casinos, a company that owned the Biloxi Belle casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and was owned primarily by restaurateur Jim Hasslocher.[1][2] Construction was budgeted for $30 million, but ran up to $67 million.[3] The Southern Belle Casino opened for a two-day test run on February 19, 1994, and then opened permanently on February 24.[4][5] It was designed to resemble a Southern mansion, and had facilities including 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) of gaming space, three restaurants, and a 1,500-seat event venue, the River Bend Event Center.[4][6]

The Southern Belle closed on August 31, 1994, as its owners stated that the Tunica market had become overly saturated, with ten casinos in operation.[7] Belle Casinos filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on the same day.[8] They initially planned to move the Southern Belle casino boat to the Biloxi Belle site, but that property closed in January 1995, and they began seeking a buyer for the Southern Belle instead.[9] In July 1995, the property was bought out of bankruptcy for $34 million by a partnership between Harrah's Entertainment and Belz Enterprises, which owned a Harrah's casino about a block away.[10][11]

Harrah's Tunica Mardi Gras Casino (1996-2004)[edit]

Harrah's spent $49 million to add a 200-room hotel and renovate the casino with a New Orleans theme, with three different areas patterned after the French Quarter, the Garden District, and Mardi Gras.[12][13] The casino reopened on April 8, 1996 as Harrah's Tunica Mardi Gras Casino.[14] The hotel opened two months later.[15] Harrah's continued to operate two casinos in the area for some time, and bought out Belz's stake in the properties in April 1997.[16][17] A month later, it closed the original Harrah's Tunica to concentrate on the Mardi Gras casino.[18]

Resorts Casino (2005-2019)[edit]

In 2004, Harrah's agreed to buy Caesars Entertainment. The combined company would have controlled five of Tunica Resorts' nine casinos: Harrah's, Grand Casino, Horseshoe Casino, Sheraton Casino and Hotel and Bally's Casino. Because of possible anti-competitive domination of the Tunica market, Harrah's agreed to sell the property, along with Bally's, to Colony Capital, who then created Resorts International Holdings to own and operate the casinos (including Bally's Tunica). The casino was renamed Resorts Casino Tunica in 2005.[19]

On November 9, 2011, Foundation Gaming Group of Gulfport, Mississippi assumed the management of Resorts Casino and Hotel along with Bally's Casino Tunica. In 2013, management responsibility changed.

In May 2017, Resorts and Bally's Tunica were sold in a joint deal, with Gaming & Leisure Properties acquiring their real estate assets for a total of $83 million, and Penn National purchasing the operating assets for a total of $44 million.[20][21]

Penn National announced in April 2019 that Resorts Tunica would close on June 30 because of declining revenues, which were attributed to the expansion of casino gaming in Arkansas.[22]

Dining[edit]

Resorts Casino Tunica features three dining venues:

  • 61 Grille Steakhouse
  • EATs
  • Delta Blues Buffet

Entertainment[edit]

The casino features a casino stage bar featuring live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays. Resorts Casino is adjacent to River Bend Links golf course.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Biloxi Belle reorganization". Reno Gazette-Journal. October 4, 1993 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ Laurel Campbell (January 21, 1994). "Lady Luck cleared but agrees to pay for probe". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis, TN – via NewsBank.
  3. ^ Louise Taylor (October 20, 1994). "Biloxi Belle barely afloat". The Sun Herald. Biloxi, MS – via NewsBank.
  4. ^ a b Sarah C. Campbell (February 25, 1994). "Casino's reopening delayed one day". The Commercial Appeal – via NewsBank.
  5. ^ "State's 20th casino taking bets". Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, MS. February 21, 1994 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Diana Murphy (March 11, 1994). "'Fighting Irish' to box on St. Patrick's Day". The Times. Shreveport, LA – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Laurel Campbell (September 1, 1994). "Southern Belle third casino to close at Tunica this year". The Commercial Appeal – via NewsBank.
  8. ^ Louise Taylor (September 1, 1994). "Court oversees Belle finances". The Sun Herald. Biloxi, MS – via NewsBank.
  9. ^ "Troubled Biloxi Belle closes and 'sister' shut in Tunica set for sale". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis, TN. January 4, 1995 – via NewsBank.
  10. ^ "Harrah's action". The Star-Ledger. Newark, NJ. Bloomberg. May 14, 1995 – via NewsBank.
  11. ^ Form 10-K: Annual Report (Report). Harrah's Entertainment. March 6, 1996. p. 6 – via EDGAR.
  12. ^ Laurel Campbell (April 9, 1996). "Harrah's 2nd Tunica casino opens sporting New Orleans attitude". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis, TN – via NewsBank.
  13. ^ Laurel Campbell (March 30, 1996). "Mardi Gras Casino to open April 8". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis, TN – via NewsBank.
  14. ^ "New Tunica casino". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. April 11, 1996 – via NewsBank.
  15. ^ Form 10-K405: Annual Report (Report). Harrah's Entertainment. March 11, 1997. p. 6 – via EDGAR.
  16. ^ Laurel Campbell (April 17, 1997). "Belz ends partnership with Harrah's Tunica casinos". The Commercial Appeal – via NewsBank.
  17. ^ "Harrah's closing one casino located at Tunica". The Greenwood Commonwealth. Greenwood, MS. AP. May 4, 1997 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Sheraton parent puts Tunica casino on market". Las Vegas Sun. June 3, 1997 – via NewsBank.
  19. ^ Schiffer, Rudi (2005-05-03). "Heard It On the River". Casino City Times/Jackpot Magazine.
  20. ^ Form 10-Q: Quarterly Report (Report). Gaming & Leisure Properties. May 3, 2017. p. 8 – via EDGAR.
  21. ^ Form 10-Q: Quarterly Report (Report). Penn National Gaming. May 3, 2017. p. 23 – via EDGAR.
  22. ^ "Penn National Gaming to close Resorts Casino Tunica". WMC-TV. April 16, 2019. Retrieved 2019-04-16.

External links[edit]