Wall Street Journal bullish on Coast casinos

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - When Boyd Gaming announced it would buy IP Casino for $280 million and spend another $40 million on improvements to the property, the Wall Street Journal called it one of the highest priced U.S. casino deals in the last year.

IP General Manager Jon Lucas said the deal makes a positive statement about the status of the coast casino industry.

"I think it's very encouraging for the market that a major corporation such as Boyd Gaming comes into this market and feels like they can invest well over 300 million dollars," Lucas said.

The Wall Street Journal article also noted that the coast casino industry is doing a better job of surviving an economic slowdown then other gaming destinations.

Jon Lucas said he's not surprised, and it should make industry experts bullish on our area.

"I think the numbers bear it out. If you look at how far down Las Vegas is and Atlantic City is as well as other jurisdictions. The fact that this market is not as far down, I think that is cause for some optimism," Lucas said.

Frank Fahrenkopf, President of the American Gaming Association said in the article, "If you talk about any place in the gaming world that's good at recovering, it's the Gulf Coast."

Jon Lucas had some interesting observations on that comment.

"I think it's Katrina and the oil spill and certainly the recession. The coast has taken some big hits in the last six years and has managed to bounce back to some pretty good levels of gaming revenues," Lucas commented.

Other positive things are happening on the coast. Construction is underway on the Margaritaville project in Biloxi and the Rotate Black Casino is moving forward with plans in Gulfport.

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