BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The IP Casino Resort and Spa boasts 1,088 hotel rooms. Boyd Gaming, who owns the Back Bay casino, updated rooms last year. Now, the property has begun phase two of the hotel makeover.
"This time, it's 54 of our suites. We're spending about $2.5 million. Last year, we did more than 350 of our guest rooms and spent $7.5 million to $8 million to bring those rooms up to first class. They've all been refurbished in the last five years," said General Manager Duncan McKenzie.
Across Biloxi's Back Bay, Scarlet Pearl Casino is set to open in D'Iberville around the end of the year.
That addition to the market and the competitive nature of the Coast casino industry means it's important for all properties to expand and upgrade.
McKenzie thinks casinos have made great strides in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina to rebuild the industry.
"We all came back much better after the storm. It has created a great tourism destination. I consider the casino business the anchor store of the tourism mall on the Gulf Coast," McKenzie said.
Coast casinos have figured out that simply maintaining the status quo isn't good enough. IP is an example of the corporate philosophy that keeping an edge on the competition requires constant upgrades.
"We really need to put a great physical plant in front of people in order to compete properly. Our rooms and restaurants are constantly being upgraded. We're doing it with our meeting rooms and theater," McKenzie said.
IP hopes to complete the $2.5 million renovation by January.