Back in July it was announced that the Margaritaville Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi would close on or before September 19th. On Monday night, the doors closed.
Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Gaming Commission, told the Sun Herald that officials from the casino notified them they would close at 10 p.m.
“We were made aware of this and we’ll have agents on standby,” he said.
A train clacked by around 9:30 p.m., its whistle a last call for the casino that opened in 2012 with a concert by Jimmy Buffett.
A couple moving from Michigan to Nevada pulled in and when they learned it was the final hour, hurried inside to buy a souvenir T-shirt.
A few employees carried items to their cars, while others not scheduled to work headed in one last time.
“We’ve been here since Day 1,” a woman said while another said, “We’re just saying goodbye to our co-workers.”
The third woman said, “it’s sad but …” and shrugged her shoulders.
The employee parking lot was empty and the staff was parked in the regular lot.
“The employees are going to be paid through the 19th as promised,” said Michael Cavanaugh, attorney for MVB Holdings, which operated the casino.
Cavanaugh said the company was unable to come to an agreement with the landlords to build a hotel on the property, which the management said is needed for the casino to stay in business.
“Everybody wants a better outcome,” Cavanaugh said, “everybody but the landlords.”
The landowners won’t be able to step in and run the casino, he said. “When we close down the license is history.”
Gaming Commission regulations now require a casino to have a 200-room hotel and other amenities before they open.
(hat tip Tony)
Barely two years after it opened, the Margaritaville Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi will close in the next two months.
The casino will own the dubious title of first casino to close on the Gulf Coast since Katrina nine years ago.
Management met with employees Monday morning and gave them WARN notices, required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, telling them of the impending closing of the casino on or before Sept. 19.
Employees were told not to speak to reporters and said on the way out of the meeting, “It could cost us.”
It will be business as usual, said Michael Cavanaugh, attorney for the owners. But business dropped following the announcement that Harrah’s Casino in Tunica was closing in June, and Cavanaugh said Margaritaville could close in a couple of weeks if the same happens in Biloxi.
Cavanaugh said MVB Holding LLC, the company that operates the casino, was unable to come to an agreement with its landlord and therefore could not secure financing to build a hotel.
Cavanaugh also admitted that the casino is losing money, but declined to say how much.
There were lots of high hopes for the casino that opened May 22, 2012, with a concert by Buffett, attended by thousands and broadcast live worldwide on Margaritaville Radio.
Read more at The Sun Herald.
Only three weeks ago, it was announced that Jimmy Buffett’s at The Beachcomber restaurant in Honolulu is closing.
Jimmy Buffett made a surprise visit to his Margaritaville Biloxi Casino on Friday:
Buffett made a quick walk through the property with Margaritaville managers and Mayor AJ Holloway to share his ideas for the hotel that’s in the works. Architects are working on those plans right now. And while there’s no timetable for construction, leaders hope to be breaking ground by the end of the year.
Buffett also stopped to visit with employees and say thanks for all the hard work they do to keep the 24/7 operation running smoothly.
“I had to do a double-take to believe it, but sure enough I was standing in front of Jimmy Buffett,” said employee Emma Roberts. “He was so nice and appreciative of what we do.”
Roberts, a native of Puerto Rico, said she was also pleasantly surprised to learn the songwriter “speaks perfect Spanish.”
Buffett also surprised a few customers before leaving on his seaplane.
The Margaritaville Biloxi opened a year and a half ago, and this week it was revealed that a hotel tower is planned for the development:
A workshop to discuss a connector road for Bayview Avenue brought news of two casino developments on the Point in Biloxi.
Margaritaville Casino is planning a $50 million to $60 million development to build a hotel tower, according to managing director John Cary.
Chris Ferrara of Biloxi Boardwalk, who owns the Heinz plant adjacent to Margaritaville, said he plans to spend $200 million for a casino, hotel, convention center and RV park in east Biloxi.
Jimmy Buffett is performing tonight at his new casino hotel in Bossier City, Louisiana to celebrate the opening of the $197 million project.
Paradise Theater doors open at 4pm CT and the show starts at 5pm CT. You can listen live on Radio Margaritaville.
The Margaritaville casino is all on one level, spread across 30,000 square feet, and features around 1,300 slot machines and 54 table games. 400 rooms occupy the remaining space, along with three restaurants and the Paradise Theater, which seats 900.
It’s the sixth casino in the Shreveport-Bossier area and the first new facility in more than a decade.
Visit margaritavillebossiercity.com for more information on the hotel and casino.
Resorts Hotel & Casino, where Margaritaville just opened in Atlantic City, is hosting a free concert on the beach this Saturday. The event lists Andy Grammar, Mac McAnally, and Wilson Phillips as performers, plus a “special guest.”
Many are speculating that the special guest will be Jimmy Buffett. It does make sense as Buffett typically performs at his new properties shortly after they open.
The event is free and begins at 1pm.
(hat tip Lorelei’s Dad)