SuperTalk Mississippi

Casinos in Mississippi: Creativity for Survival

BILOXI, Miss.–With the announced upcoming closure of the Margaritaville casino in Biloxi, you may be wondering if Mississippi just has too many casinos for everyone to have a necessary piece of the pie. Actually, it may not be how many casinos the state has, but how many there are in the whole country that’s making it harder to survive.

Since Margaritaville opened in 2012, it’s had a hard time competing. But the turning point that signaled the end was the inability to reach a deal with the landlord to develop a hotel, according to the casino’s president, Doug Shipley.

“MVB Holding, LLC, has been actively working to resolve a dispute with the landlords and to secure financing to build a hotel and other amenities it believes would have enabled MVB to keep Margaritaville-Biloxi open. Unfortunately, those efforts were not successful,” he said in a statement Monday.

Charlie Williams, who is a former state representative, and who helped devise legislation that brought gaming to the state, said in an earlier interview, that to survive, Mississippi casinos will have to exhibit some creativity.

“When we passed casino gaming, I think they were in maybe 12 or 15 states and today it’s in 40-something states. We’re gonna have to be creative to hold our own,” he said.

One challenge is that Mississippi likely will not get multi-billion dollar developments like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, especially with competition being as widespread as it is now.

“We’ve given them credit for bringing in additional activities. We thought that was going to help them bring in water parks, race tracks, NASCAR-type stuff, but those things cost many hundreds of millions of dollars to do.”

Williams said that the best bet for the future is internet gaming, or perhaps sports betting, which brings its own set of complications with federal regulations.

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