Casino resorts plan to begin re-opening in December

Mayor A.J. Holloway has announced that the city’s casino resort industry, which attracted millions of visitors and employed thousands of workers in Biloxi, will begin re-opening to the public in a matter of weeks.

Holloway said he has been encouraged by discussions with representatives of the nine casino resorts in Biloxi.

“It’s been about 60 days – 60 long days – since we were struck by the worst natural disaster to ever strike this country,” Holloway said, “but in another indication of the resiliency of this city, it looks like we may see the first of the casino resorts, the Imperial Palace, open its doors as soon as Dec. 20, and a steady process of re-openings in the weeks after that.

“This,” Holloway 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.”

IP hopes to open its casino and more than 1,000 refurbished hotel rooms Dec. 20.

More substantive information on re-opening plans for Biloxi casino resorts may be presented by operators during a Nov. 17 meeting of the Mississippi Gaming Commission at Imperial Palace in Biloxi. Holloway also has accepted an invitation to address the commission.

Other reports Holloway received from individual properties and gaming industry spokesperson Beverly Martin:

 The Isle of Capri Casino Resort is projecting to re-open casino operations in existing ballroom space for New Year’s Eve, with hopes of opening as many as 600 hotel rooms by that same date.

 The Palace Casino Resort is aiming to open casino operations in the first and second flood of its hotel and more than 200 hotel rooms in early January.

 Treasure Bay hopes to re-open casino operations in late June in its hotel, with redesigned ballrooms and guest rooms.

 Hard Rock Hotel and Resort, which was scheduled to open the week of Hurricane Katrina, is aiming for a summer opening of casino and hotel operations.

 Beau Rivage Resort & Casino plans to re-open in 12 to 16 months.

 Boomtown Casino plans to re-open in a temporary casino adjacent to its current location, but has not announced a timetable.

 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.

“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.”