GULFPORT -- Partners Rick Carter and Terry Green have invested more than $300 million in Island View Casino Resort since 2007, but their company's general counsel said Coast leaders must work to reverse a decline in the gambling market.
Island View Vice President and General Counsel Cathy Beeding Mackenzie told Gulfport Business Club members at a luncheon Tuesday the market is down by 5 million visitors in the last two years. She said the airport needs a low-cost carrier to get people to the Coast.
"This transportation problem is serious," she said.
Island View is investing $58 million to restore a hotel tower Hurricane Katrina destroyed in 2005. She said the tower, with 400 rooms, 56 suites and a swimming pool overlooking the beach, should be completed in May.
Mackenzie, who has worked for Carter and Green since 1997, said a holistic approach is needed to improve the market.
In addition to transportation improvements, she told the Sun Herald after her presentation, more money needs to be budgeted to promote Coast tourism. The Coast, she said, also needs more non-gambling amenities that would attract visitors.
She told business club members, in response to a question, the city could support a second casino, but a substantial investment by experienced operators would be needed.