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Biloxi Harrah's/CET Pulling Trigger

Last edit: wpsteel66 on Tuesday, 17th December 2013 7:19 pm
Last response by jinx73 19th December 12:42pm

Announced today by Harrahs/CET: The partial re-construction of the Grand Biloxi that was started after Hurricane Katrina and then stopped in 2008 will be demolished. They also are renaming the casino to Harrah’s Gulf Coast.

They started to rebuild on their beach-side property (south of US 90), across the street from where the hotel and casino are currently located. Originally Margaritaville was to be built here, but CET stopped. Jimmy got ticked off by the delay and then built on the back bay.

The footprint of the new structure is really large. I was looking forward to this new development and the Grand being a significant player in Biloxi. But I guess CET debt is just too much to invest in Biloxi (but they began and/or completed construction in other parts of the US-- Ohio, Baltimore for example).

The property will be converted into an outdoor entertainment area with a boardwalk. They also are planning to renovate the casino and hotel rooms.

I commented before that Harrah’s/CET owns the Casino Magic hotel next to the property with the started/stopped construction. This hotel has been dormant since the hurricane. A company is leasing this hotel and plans are to open soon. No details of who will operate the hotel have been released.

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 level42 responded on Tuesday, 17th December 2013

Thanks for the info. I'm staying a Grand Biloxi for the first time in 2 weeks...not sure if I'm really excited about it or not. Really just going to get away for a few days...and because I haven't seen Biloxi since the hurricanes hit. Any idea why the name change? Is it not really so "grand" these days?

 erzeszut replied on Wednesday, 18th December 2013

The name change has always been planned -- CET inherited the Grand Casinos name, and wants to simplify their portfolio a bit. Too many brands. The Grand Casino in Tunica became a Harrah's after the renovation, so they're following the same pattern here.

However, the casino floor is so small, it's disappointing to see them give up on their post-Katrina plans to enlarge it. Pre-Katrina, they had about 3x the casino floor space (on the south side of US 90). Their current casino floor was originally lobby/hotel/convention space; it's cramped and multi-level.

Here's the Sun-Herald article, which talks about some expansion from the Lobby Bar out to the pool deck. Here's hoping they can make the casino floor a bit more lively and enjoyable.

Of course, the Beau Rivage is still the premier property in Biloxi, with the expanding Hard Rock a close second. Not sure the Grand is even in 3rd at this point, it may be behind IP and the hotel-less (for now) Margaritaville.

 jinx73 responded on Thursday, 19th December 2013

Outside of Cincinatti, the construction in Ohio has been minimum, and I'd wager that Rock Gaming, their 50% partner funded most of it. The Cleveland and Thistledown casino were basically lipstick on a pig jobs, Nothing more then the quickest way to get the doors open, by plopping down slots and tables on some new carpet for existing buildings.