Island View Employees Get Pumped Up For Opening Night - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Island View Employees Get Pumped Up For Opening Night

"What's up? Are we ready to open this joint and have a good time or what?"

The crowd cheered as they heard rousing speeches, feasted on good food, and surrounded themselves with plenty of spirit.

"A fabulous group of Islanders that we have here tonight!"

Hundreds of Island View employees, known as Islanders, crammed under a big tent for a pep rally on the eve of the casino's grand opening.

When asked how she felt, Theresa Thompson responded, "Oh tired, but good. We're so ready to have this open, and it's beautiful inside."

Thompson worked eight years for the Copa, until Katrina wrecked the casino. The Copa owners bought out the Grand Casino Gulfport property. They showed a video clip that proved how everyone's hard work and determination transformed a former Grand Casino hotel into an impressive Island View Casino.

"How many Copa employees are in the house?" Copa owner Rick Carter asked the crowd. "How many Grand employees we got? Well guess what? We're all Islanders now."

The owners also shared their vision of what they believe will turn Island View into the largest casino on the Gulf Coast.

"We would like to build a complete different complex - hotel, casino, marina - across the street," said Copa owner Terry Green. "We think that we're going to create a synergy in Gulfport that Biloxi can't cut."

That's still years away. On this night, it was a chance to see old friends again, celebrate their long journey back, and relax before the big opening night.

"When the doors open and everybody sees that we've worked so hard for our guests and our players, and to see their faces, it's going to be wonderful," said Lisa Premeaux, Director of Hotel Operations.

The Island View opens to the public Monday at 7:00 PM. The casino is located on the first floor of the former Grand Casino Gulfport's Oasis Hotel.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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