Business Booming For Island View Casino Resort - - The News for South Mississippi

Business Booming For Island View Casino Resort

Gulfport's first post-Katrina casino resort has been up and running for nearly a week now, and according the owners, business is booming.

"It's a little bit more relaxed now," said Island View owner, Rick Carter. "Opening day was tremendously exciting. We didn't have very many glitches, but we prepared for a while."

The excitement of opening day has wound down for Carter, but there's still plenty of action on the gaming room floor. Sunday casino-goers were hard pressed to find a seat at a slot machine. Carter says it's been that way all week.

"Businesswise, we're doing very well. We've exceeded our expectations, and the customers seem to be very pleased," Carter said.

Carter says the hotel's 200 rooms are booked most nights and he expects occupancy to remain strong as more rooms become available this month.

Carter admits buying up the Gulfport property and converting it was a bit of a gamble, but he believes the owners' local roots, the casino's prime location, and down home Southern Hospitality are a winning combination.

"Our casino is the closest to the airport, which we like. And Terry (Green) and I are local boys. We know how to treat people, and our employees know how we want our people to be treated, and that's a big factor with us," Carter said.

Carter says you can expect to see the Island View ante up with plans for an expansion in the coming months.

"One year from now, it's going to be much bigger. We'll have other plans for the south property, which we'll be revealing soon. We see tremendous things for Island View. We hope to have the south hotel done by the year end, and... we're going to build a marina and a river walk concept. We're looking for big things," he said.

Carter says they're planning to make a big announcement regarding the casino within the next two weeks.

By Toni Miles

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