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Margaritaville Casino in Biloxi Approved

April 7th, 2011

It was the final hurdle for the Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant in Biloxi, and on Thursday the Gaming Commission unanimously approved the plans for the $51 million project.

Jimmy Buffett was in Biloxi and attended the meeting:

“I obviously am very pleased to be back here and be part of this,” Buffett told the Gaming Commission and a room full of people, including several local casino general managers.

Buffett said he asked to ride down U.S. 90 along the beach on his way to the meeting to see how the area has recovered from Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill.

“No’s not a good answer for me,” he said, He developed a new partnership with local casino veteran Tom Brosig and other developers.

“Now we’re on the Back Bay,” he said, “and I like it.”

In the first phase of the casino off Fifth Street in East Biloxi will be a small casino, a Margaritaville restaurant and lounge, a store, an events center and a full-service marina, said John Cohlan, chief executive officer of Margaritaville Holdings. He said the cost is $50 million and the resort will create 650 permanent jobs.

Phase II will add 20,000 square feet to the casino, create a Gulf Coast museum, highlighting local musicians and history, and enhance the marina at an estimated cost of $35 million.

Gaming Commissioner John Hairston said the small size of the casino proposed in Phase I won’t create any additional benefit to the local market, but the Margaritaville brand will bring more visitors and jobs to Biloxi.

“I have a great deal of professional and personal interest in growing the economy of the Coast,” he said.
“We’re ready to start shoveling,” Buffett said,

Tagged in Business Empire, Casinos