Boomtown Casino celebrates 15 years

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For the 10th consecutive month, South Mississippi casinos are seeing a decline in revenue.

The Mississippi State Tax Commission reports that in June, casinos only profited $84.1 million. That's a 28 percent decline and one of the largest ever reported. But amidst low profits and layoffs, one South Mississippi casino has reason to celebrate.

Fifteen years ago, Boomtown opened as a family friendly casino.

"We had a fun center that was a high tech arcade," said General Manager Chett Harrison.

The family center is gone and in its place are 300 additional slot machines. Soon there will be even more changes. The first: A new multi-million dollar BT Steakhouse.

"We're saying this is the first casino steakhouse that's built for the locals and priced for the locals," said Harrison.

Harrison hopes the steakhouse will help with the overwhelming response to the popular Boomtown buffet.

"We're serving so many folks on a Friday or Saturday night that the wait time is an hour and a half or two hours," said Harrison.

So what's their secret?

"I think the secret is having a relationship with your customers. So when you want to make changes, you talk to your customers about what they would like to see," said Marketing Director Sunita Sailor.

Sailor said communication with customers and employees is Boomtown's recipe for loyalty.

"We have almost 50 employees who have been with us since day one, wearing hard hats when we opened the doors," said Sailor.

But one thing neighboring casinos have that Boomtown doesn't is an adjoining hotel.

"We've looked at it several times and it is surely something that one day we would like to do, but right now with today's environment, it is definitely something we prefer to stay away from," said Harrison.

No hotels for now, just a new steakhouse, a planned relocation and expansion of its bakery and souvenir store and plenty of gaming.

"A lot has changed in 15 years and a lot is still the same," said Sailor.

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