Biloxi Casino Dedicates New Hotel Expansion - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/29/05

Biloxi Casino Dedicates New Hotel Expansion

The coast's first casino dedicated its newest hotel addition Wednesday.

The Isle of Capri has come a long way from the pair of riverboats it brought to Biloxi some 13 years ago.  And casino executives are already busy planning future expansions.

The casino resort adopted the term "Isle Style" to describe its Caribbean flavor customer service. Harrison County's tourism director used the words "Isle Vision" to describe the casino resort's latest multi million dollar addition.

An atmosphere of "island flair" filled Flamingo Bay ballroom as a smiling Bill Kilduff led the ribbon cutting crew.

"When we first came down here in 1992 we had two riverboats. And people said 'Oh they're the most beautiful things we've ever seen'. A year later, they said, 'We don't want to go on that boat, we want to go on barges'," Kilduff said.

It's a far cry from those riverboats. Visitors nodded their approval through a tour of luxury hotel rooms and smiled at the expanded pool deck and adjoining hot tub.

The $60 million hotel tower gives the Isle 750 hotel rooms on its Biloxi property.

"They had the vision to put their corporate headquarters here and grow the corporation from Biloxi," said tourism director, Steve Richer.

This latest Isle expansion marks yet another wave of casino growth. Combined with condos, the coast economy is the biggest beneficiary.

"It's good news for everybody. You got more jobs, more opportunity. And everybody benefits," said Peoples Bank president, Chevis Swetman.

The Isle won't remain idle after this latest expansion. The casino resort is moving in a much larger gaming barge later this year. Beyond that, there's already a long range plan in the works to add even more hotel space.

"When we built our parking garage, we spent an additional $3 million on that structure so it will accommodate another hotel on top of that and we have master plans moving forward," Kilduff said.

Isle executives are not content being simply the coast's first casino; they plan on making certain it's the leader in a growing market.

The new hotel tower adds 400 rooms and 20,000 square feet of meeting space. The Isle's new three story gaming barge is now under construction on Back Bay. It will be moved into place in early December.

By Steve Phillips

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