Margaritaville closing leaves east Biloxi stunned and saddened - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Margaritaville closing leaves east Biloxi stunned and saddened

For those who live, work and play in East Biloxi, Margaritaville's closing brings a feeling of loss. When it opened in May of 2012, there was hope the casino would revitalize the area. (Photo source: WLOX) For those who live, work and play in East Biloxi, Margaritaville's closing brings a feeling of loss. When it opened in May of 2012, there was hope the casino would revitalize the area. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Tuesday, the owners of Margaritaville Biloxi filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. That comes less than 20 hours after the casino closed its doors for good, leaving 391 people out of a job.

For those who live, work and play in East Biloxi there's also a feeling of loss. When it opened in May of 2012, there was hope the casino would revitalize the area.

Jim and Ginger Bullock live in east Biloxi, and enjoy their morning walks.  They also enjoyed going to Margaritaville. Those days are gone for Ginger.  

"It's just devastating. I'm at a loss for words on that. I think it's pretty bad. A lot of the jobs have been lost. A lot of people enjoyed just going over there to play," Ginger lamented. 

Glenn Adams lives in a senior apartment complex.  It was serviced by the Coast Transit Authority casino hopper bus line. That is also gone with the closing of Margaritaville. It was a service many of the seniors depended on to get around, according to Adams.  

"The bus hopper came by on Saturday and we don't have a Back Bay bus on Saturday or Sunday. Now, we don't have any service on Saturday or Sunday," Adams said.   

Another big loss is to the city of Biloxi's bottom line. The city has collected almost a million dollars from the casino since May of 2012, when it opened.  The money was in the form of sales, property, and gaming taxes. 

David Nichols is the chief administrative officer for the city.  

"You can't replace that sales tax, you can't replace that personal property tax that they were paying. Plus, you add some 350 employees that were buying goods and services here and spending money in our restaurants, buying groceries here," Nichols said.  

Although the closing of Margaritaville Monday night at 10pm came as no big surprise to most of us on the coast, company officials announced it going to probably happen almost two months ago, it did come as a surprise to a steady stream of drivers, most of them from out of state who came up to the casino Tuesday. One of them was Bob Wyzykowski.   

"I was surprised. I just couldn't believe it. We've always enjoyed coming over here. Don't understand it." 

Neither can just about everyone else.

Also unanswered this evening is the question of 5th street, where Margaritaville is located.  The city spent almost a million dollars was improving the street before the casino opened.  The bond was going to be paid back with revenue generated by the casino.  Now that it's closed, that will be much more difficult.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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