Margaritaville Resort Biloxi is a resort hotel in Biloxi on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It previously operated with a dockside casino as Casino Magic Biloxi Casino & Hotel, until it was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The property has a 373-room hotel, located on 10.6 acres (4.3 ha) of land.
Casino Magic and its neighbors, the Isle of Capri Biloxi and Grand Casino Biloxi made up a district known as “Casino Row”.
Casino Magic Corp., operator of a casino by the same name in the Gulf Coast town of Bay St. Louis, unveiled plans in January 1993 for a second casino barge, to be located in Biloxi next to the Isle of Capri casino at Point Cadet. The casino would be three stories, with a companion five-story floating parking garage. The casino opened on June 5, at a cost of $55 million. Additional space opened in December, bringing the total to 55,000 square feet (5,100 m2) of gaming, with 1,160 slot machines, 69 table games, and a keno parlor.
Regulations required Casino Magic to build a 250-room hotel or spend at least a quarter of its investment on land, but the company met this requirement by developing its Bay St. Louis property, where it built a hotel, marina, RV park, restaurants, and a golf course. Without such amenities, the Biloxi casino largely relied on bus tours and day-trippers from nearby states. A $9-million parking garage was built in 1994, with plans to build a $15-million hotel on top of it, but the company wavered on those plans because of the high expense. In 1995 it bought Casino One Corp., which held a lease and option on 4.5 acres (1.8 ha) of land adjacent to Casino Magic, from the Gaming Corporation of America for $13 million in stock. The land was initially earmarked for parking, with a possible hotel and retail complex in the future.
Finally, though, the company pressed forward with the hotel on top of the parking garage, part of a $22-million plan begun in 1996, including a new facade and restaurant. The 378-room hotel opened on May 1, 1998. The company hoped it would help attract more high-end players from among the new overnight guests drawn by expanded jet service at the Gulfport-Biloxi Airport.
In October 1998, the property came under the ownership of Hollywood Park, Inc. (later Pinnacle Entertainment), which bought Casino Magic Corp. for $340 million. Pinnacle quickly sold off the Bay St. Louis property, along with its Boomtown Biloxi casino, enabling it to focus resources on Casino Magic Biloxi. Plans included two new parking garages to be built jointly with the Isle of Capri and Grand Casino, and an additional 300-room hotel, possibly to be developed with Jimmy Buffett under his Margaritaville brand. Construction plans for the new hotel were pushed back to 2006, though, while Pinnacle focused on building the L’Auberge du Lac Resort in Louisiana.
Margaritaville Resort Biloxi
Harrah’s joined with Jimmy Buffett in 2007 to begin construction on the $700-million Margaritaville Casino Resort, which would incorporate the Casino Magic hotel tower. Construction was suspended, however, in 2008, due to the financial crisis and Harrah’s near-bankruptcy after being taken private. In 2011, Buffett announced new plans for what would become the Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant, elsewhere in Biloxi, marking the end of his project with Harrah’s. The city later declared the hotel tower a blighted building, demanding that it be repaired or demolished.
After the Margaritaville Casino closed in 2014, developer Cono Caranna announced new plans for a Margaritaville Resort on the Casino Magic site. The family-friendly, non-gaming resort opened on June 23, 2016.
By Toohool – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62552018