$50 million expansion and 100 new jobs coming to Margaritaville

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant in Biloxi made an announcement that was a year and a half in the making. The casino is getting a major expansion and renovation. The improvements will include a 250 room hotel tower, a new buffet, a revamped casino floor, marina improvements, a swimming pool and pool bar.

"We feel it's going to be a game changer for us," said Margaritaville President and General Manager Doug Shipley.

"Obviously, it extends our reach into other markets that we currently don't tap into right now, and obviously provides tax dollars and additional employment."

The $50 million expansion means about 100 new jobs. According to Shipley, it also means confidence in this market.

"Biloxi pretty much has held its own. Yeah, it's been down two or three percent here and there, but for the most part, it's still over an $800 million market within Biloxi itself so we're very, very bullish on it."

Casino customers like Bill Parrott agree.

"Well, I think it's great for Biloxi. It means new jobs, new construction money coming in so it will be good for the community," Parrott said.

While Margaritaville officials say this investment shows their confidence in the gaming market here on the Gulf Coast, this also means one other thing for the long time employees here. It's a real shot in the arm.

"Anytime you're here from day one, and something like this happens, you can feel the energy, it builds the morale up for the guests and also the community. The associates, we're all excited about the new expansion," said Security Supervisor Jarel Preston.

"There's a lot of great buzz. All the employees have a great attitude about it, they're looking forward to it and everybody's really excited," said Slot Supervisor Zenna Vansteensburg.

The employees hope the excitement will heat up the coast casino market.

Construction on the hotel should begin this spring, and take about a year to complete.

The Margaritaville announcement follows on the heels of several other casino expansion projects that have gotten underway in the past year. That includes the Hard Rock, the Golden Nugget, the Island View, the Grand and the Silver Slipper.

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