Gulfport's Only Casino Opens To Gamblers - - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport's Only Casino Opens To Gamblers

The casino has an enormous economic impact. It provides some 800 jobs now and that number will nearly double when phase two opens next Spring. But the emphasis Monday night was more on entertainment than economics.

Casino owner Rick Carter wore a mile wide smile to the party. Guests offered congratulations and gave Gulfport's only casino rave reviews on grand opening night.

"It's been fabulous. We've got a lot of exciting people here. A lot of great employees. And this has been a dream come true," Carter said.

The familiar sound of slots echoed across the gambling floor. Players like Gulfport resident Buddy Donahue enjoyed some grand opening luck.

"I'm doing great. I'm winning, and that's the main thing isn't it?" Donahue said.

The casino's all new buffet was winning over the crowd with an assortment of tasty treats. That's where we found co-owner Terry Green mingling with guests. He admits there were some skeptics who doubted the owners could pull off an all new casino resort.

"I believe we had a few people who thought, there's no way we could pull this off. But, you know, I have to pinch myself. I didn't even realize we could do it either until after the fact," Green said.

Jeanie Dye and Lucy Vann liked what they saw. The casino's "casual elegance" is just right. In fact, Dye said it was even better than she expected.

"Oh, it's gorgeous! We've walked all over the place. It's beautiful," Dye said.

"I think it means a whole lot. After the storm, everything was so devastated and everything. You can just look at the people's faces. To be able to bring something like this to the Mississippi Gulf Coast where we were born and raised. There's just not any words to describe it," Green said.

The Island View casino has 30,000 square feet of gaming space. That will increase to 80,000 square feet when phase two opens next spring. Along with the gambling, the resort includes a 562 room hotel.

by Steve Phillips

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