Casino Gambling

New casino in old Margaritaville is ‘one step closer’ on Biloxi’s Back Bay

The Mississippi Gaming Commission met Thursday and gave site approval to what could be the city’s ninth casino.

“One step closer,” said Chris Taylor, one of the investors who propose spending $200 million to open Biloxi House casino on the site of the former Margaritaville Casino on the Back Bay. He and Tom Moore represented the company before the Gaming Commission.

Now they go to work on locking down financing, finishing the architectural design by Cuningham Group and completing the other work, Taylor said.

The group expects to be back to the Gaming Commission later this year to ask for permission to proceed with construction, said their attorney, Scott Andress with Balch & Bingham.

“The theme of the resort is going to be historic old Biloxi,” Andress said. It will have a 40,000-square-foot casino and a new 12-story, 300-room hotel, he said, both of which are minimum requirements for all new Coast casinos. It also will have a 500-car parking garage, three restaurants and an attraction designed to grow the Biloxi market. Andress said the investors will announce details on that attraction later.

Moore told the Sun Herald the resort also will have an infinity swimming pool on the waterfront, a marina space with a boating attraction, a spa and fitness center and entertainment venues, which they hope will appeal to local residents.

The building off 5th Street in East Biloxi has sat empty since Margaritaville Casino closed in 2014. It is about a mile from the other Biloxi casinos on U.S. 90.

The Gaming Commission held the June meeting at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.

Three other casino projects also are considered active. Executive director Allen Godfrey said he hasn’t had recent contact with developers who were granted site approval for a

casino in Long Beach in January or those who announced earlier this year that they want to build another casino in D’Iberville. Site approval for a possible casino at Lakeshore was advertised in March and hasn’t made it through the process to come onto the agenda.

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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.