Treasure Bay's Third Phase of Expansion Complete - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Treasure Bay's Third Phase of Expansion Complete

Dozens of people lined up outside Treasure Bay Monday, anxious to catch a glimpse and try their luck in the newly expanded casino.

George Fitchko and Richard Longo traveled more than 500 miles to check out the new gaming area.

"We're best friends. We came all the way from Daytona Beach, Florida just to be here for the opening," Longo said.

They didn't waste any time, hitting the roulette table within minutes of the opening. And it wasn't long before Lady Luck was on George's side.

"I won the hundred dollars. I won the first hundred dollars," George Fitchko said.

But the two friends did pause long enough from the gambling excursion to evaluate the casino's new look.

"It's a beautiful place. You have to see it," Fitchko said.

When it reopened after Katrina, Treasure Bay started with a small staff of only 200 employees. But this expansion has added 400 people to its payroll, so there are a lot of new faces.

But there are some old employees around too, including table games manager Anthony Dafun, who worked at the casino before the storm.

"I've been here since 1997, started off as a tables game dealer, worked my way up and have gotten close to all the employees, co-workers. We're all one big happy family and I'm just glad to be back," Dafun said.

Dafun didn't seek employment at any of the other coast casinos after the storm. His reason was simple.

"Because I like the people that I worked with before. We worked as one family. It's a very tight-knit, small casino," he said.

Since Katrina, Treasure Bay has spent about $60 million on its rebuilding efforts, but the expansion is not over just yet. The casino plans to open a fine dining restaurant and lounge on its ninth floor by the end of September.

By Toni Miles

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