Mayor sees both sides of IP sale

Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway said the pending sale of IP Casino Resort Spa was bittersweet news, but he thought the move would usher in a new chapter in gaming in Biloxi.

Officials with Boyd Gaming Corp. notified the mayor this morning of their plans to buy IP, an award-winning 1,000-room casino resort on Biloxi’s Back Bay. The IP has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity that began with a major upgrade of its facility after Hurricane Katrina.

“The management at IP made a concerted effort after Katrina to remake their brand,” Holloway said. “They’ve enjoyed remarkable success because of the millions of dollars they’ve invested in improving the visitor experience at their property, and they parlayed that success into community involvement, supporting dozens of worthwhile community endeavors not only here in Biloxi but in our neighboring cities as well. The IP management and staff established an excellent standard of community service.”

At the same time, Holloway said, he was looking forward to renewing his relationship with Boyd executives, who were among the many industry insiders who looked at sites in Biloxi when gaming was initially legalized in 1992.

“I’ve been out to Las Vegas several times over the years, and one of the first stops I made on each trip was to visit with Chairman Bill Boyd, CEO Keith Smith and other Boyd executives,” Holloway said. “Boyd knows Biloxi, and this move shows the confidence they have in our market and the promise of the future.”

Holloway said a number of economic development initiatives were being discussed with the IP management team over the past several years, and he hoped that Boyd would follow up on those efforts.

“IP, like other resorts in east Biloxi, had amassed a significant amount of property for future growth and diversification,” Holloway said. “I’m confident that Boyd will also see the potential for growth here in Biloxi, and we stand ready to help make that happen.”

More on Boyd: To learn more about Boyd Gaming Corp.,
click here.

Webcasting: The pending sale of IP is also one of the subjects in this week’s CIty Desk webcast, which was recorded this morning at City Hall. To listen to the program, click here.