February 19, 2020, 3:17 am
About beat casinos

Boomtown Biloxi Re-opening Puts 750 People Back to Work

Boomtown Biloxi reopened Thursday after having to close down because of damages sustained from Hurricane Katrina Aug. 29, 2005. It has become the fifth casino to reopen since the storms forced 12 casinos to stop operations, with a 13th that was only about to open. Other casinos reopened prior to Boomtown Biloxi are the IP, the Isle of Capri, The Palace, and Treasure Bay.

The reopening of Boomtown Biloxi witnessed 750 people getting back to work. 465 of that number had been previously employed in Boomtown prior to its closure, according to Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

"It's been hectic. It's been crazy," casino general manager Murphy said. "The employees are all jazzed up and excited."

Customers old and new lined up at the entrance of Boomtown Biloxi, waiting for the doors to be opened. The doors opened at 10:10 am. Chairman of the House Gaming Committee Rep. Bobby Moak, who was present at the event, was surprised at the reception. "Look at it, " Moak observed. "The floor has just filled up in literally five minutes."

"A lot of the people were from Florida, " Gregory said. "I thought it would be mostly a locals' market since Boomtown catered to that market before Katrina. It is the only casino without a hotel."

Despite the lack of hotel rooms, Florida folks Abel and Jean Koren who lives six hours away in Apalachicola Bay, still drove over to be at the opening. Harry and Edna Andes from Old Town, Fla., old customers of Boomtown Biloxi, were also there. "It's just the friendliest, " Harry Andes said.

The casino now houses 1, 100 new slots and 22 gaming tables in a refurbished barge. Boomtown's casino is coinless, meaning slots issue tickets for the players to redeem instead of the usual tokens. There is also a new digital surveillance system in place.

Boomtown is also known for the buffet and bakery, and the 350-seat area has also been reopened. Abel and Jean Koren are fans of the bakery, and have pledged to take home something "big and sweet". The casino is planning to open another restaurant, the Overland Cafe in September. They are also planning to add another 450 new slots at around the same time.

An estimated 5, 000 employees have been back to work at the Biloxi casinos according to Gregory. Boomtown Biloxi is owned by Penn National Gaming, which also has another casino set to reopen later this year. The company is re-introducing its Bay St. Louis property as Hollywood Casino.

Other casinos set for reopening are Grand Casino Biloxi (Mid-August), Beau Rivage (Aug. 29), Island View, a casino at the site of the former Gulfport Grand's Oasis Hotel (September) and the Silver Slipper in Hancock County (October).