Casino Magic founder talks about what Coast gaming needs

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Former employees of Casino Magic will get together and talk about the good old days at a reunion this week. One of the people expected to attend will Casino Magic founder Marlin Torguson.

Torguson shared his thoughts on what has become of the Biloxi property and of the local gaming industry.

In its time, Casino Magic operated in three countries with 4,200 employees. Torguson said seeing what's left of Casino Magic Biloxi is hard to stomach.

"Every time I drive by here, because I live here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast permanently, I get sick. I really really do," said Torguson. "What Harrah's, now called Caesar's, started was a fantastic dream here with the Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville that was going to go here. Then the economy blew up."

Torguson sold the company six years before Hurricane Katrina blew through and knocked Casino Magic Biloxi out of business.

"I think the hotel tower some day will be back into operation again. The owners of the hotel tower are presently in there cleaning out any debris that is left," said Torguson. "I was in there a few weeks ago just to get a look at it because I get lonesome for it every once in awhile."

As for the future of the overall casino industry, Torguson said the Gulf Coast needs more convention space, more hotels rooms and more entertainment options for visitors.

Torguson said, "We need things for people to do when they come here. The idea of a baseball stadium across from Beau Rivage would be probably the best thing that could happen to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in a long long time because you could use it for concerts. You could use it for lots of things, but it's another draw to bring somebody here to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to visit. That's our biggest problem is we do not have enough attractions."

The Casino Magic Reunion is scheduled for Thursday at Treasure Bay Casino at 7 pm.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.