Casino Gambling

‘Nothing’s going to be the same.’ A $200M plan for former Margaritaville site in East Biloxi

It’s sat empty on the waterfront since 2014 and now the vacant Margaritaville Casino site could become Biloxi’s ninth casino.

Developers have filed an application with the Mississippi Gaming Commission to build an expanded casino resort under the name Biloxi House LLC.

This is the fourth casino now on the table for South Mississippi, with site approval given to a new casino in Long Beach in January, another possible casino at Lakeshore advertised in March, and still another in D’Iberville, announced this week.

Tom Moore, who previously was part of the group that wanted to build Oyster Bay casino in D’Iberville, has joined RAM Group to build The Biloxi House at Point Cadet.

The new resort, designed by Cuningham Group, won’t have the tropical look of the old casino. It will be a combination of the “Old Biloxi” authenticity favored by Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich and an environmentally friendly aesthetic popular today, with lots of wood, steel and warm earth tones, Moore said.

When work is complete on the nearly $200 million resort, which will incorporate the original 68,000 square foot building, “Nothing’s going to be the same,” he said.

Proposed for Biloxi House are:

300 room all-suite hotel, many of the rooms with balconies overlooking the water

Casino with more than 1,000 slots, along with table games, poker tables and sports betting

A steak and seafood fine dining restaurant

Buffet, cafe, grab and go venues and sports lounge

Infinity pool on the waterfront with marina space and a boating attraction

Spa and fitness center

Entertainment venues, indoors and at the pool deck

Parking garage

A unique amenity required of all new casinos by the Gaming Commission to grow the market

Moore said the developers aren’t yet ready to announce specifics, but he hinted, “The amenity is going to be in collaboration with one of the largest events in the state of Mississippi.”

With a 14-month build-out once all the approvals from the city and Gaming Commission are in place, Moore said it’s possible the new casino resort could be open by late 2020.

The developers studied the whole Coast for opportunity, Moore said.

“They feel that Biloxi and the Louisiana casino market is the second-largest in the nation,” he said.

It’s more that drew them to this site, which overlooks the Back Bay, Mississippi Sound and out to the Gulf of Mexico and has views at night of the lights outlining the Biloxi Bay Bridge and reflected in the water.

“They fell in love with the culture here,” he said.

Part of the failure of Margaritaville was blamed on access to the property off Fifth Street. Once they get site approval from the Gaming Commission, Moore said they will work with the city on the long-discussed connecting street from U.S. 90 back to the casino.

Mary Perez is the business and casino reporter for the Sun Herald and also writes about Biloxi, jobs and the new restaurants and development coming to the Coast. She is a fourth-generation journalist.
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