Silver Slipper Races Toward November 9 Opening - - The News for South Mississippi

Silver Slipper Races Toward November 9 Opening

Despite a flurry of construction activity outside Silver Slipper's front entrance, it was easy to spot CEO Paul Alanis. He was the man in the yellow hard hat, reminding subcontractors they have until November 9 to finish their work. Alanis is confident in his workers.

"We're going to make this amazing transition from what is a big construction site now to a beautiful completed casino in two weeks," he said.

On opening night, 75-year-old Bob Elliott will take off his hard hat change into his security uniform. He accepted a job with Silver Slipper a month ago.

"When I look around here, I see a casino that I'd be glad to come to," Elliott said.

Elliott is very familiar with the location of Silver Slipper. He worked at the site when the Jubilee Casino and the Jubilation Casino had slot machines there.

His new boss can't wait for all 650 of his employees to show up for work.

"I've done a number of projects," Alanis said, "but this one I think is going to give me the most satisfaction of any."

Why? Because before Katrina, Silver Slipper's slot machines were supposed to be on the old President Casino barge. Then, when it got destroyed, and the legislature allowed casinos on shore, Alanis ponied up $80 million and built this facility.

"Doing this in 14 months and getting this open, it will be the first casino that's built from the ground up," beamed Alanis. "Demonstrating that it can be done, it's tremendously satisfying. I'm very excited about it."

In two weeks, saws will be unplugged, construction lights will be dimmed, and chandeliers will light up the Slipper's gaming floor.

"We're excited that we really are very convenient," the casino's chairman said, while explaining how the bulk of his business could be coming from Louisiana. "I've driven here from Slidell in 20 minutes. So I think we can draw customers from that market."

Here's a little history lesson about the Silver Slipper name. From 1950-1988, the legendary Silver Slipper casino operated on the Las Vegas strip. That casino was home to famed Rat Pack stars Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis and Dean Martin.

Alanis realizes his casino won't attract those sorts of celebrities. He simply wants Hancock County's Silver Slipper to feel like a home away from home.

"What we've tried to create here is a comfortable atmosphere for the people," he said.

Plans are already being drawn up to add a hotel complex to the Silver Slipper property. According to company president John Ferrucci, it will take about two years and as much as $150 million to build that hotel.

By Brad Kessie

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