Albert Weston parked his tour bus in front of Treasure Bay casino. Minutes later, his Charleston, South Carolina passengers stepped off the bus and started their weekend gambling vacation.
Fuzzy Ellison organized the trip. He said the group chose Biloxi instead of Jacksonville, Florida as its vacation destination because, "We hear Biloxi is supposed to be a nice place to come."
According to news reports, tour bus business has dropped the last four years at casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey. That's not the case here in Mississippi. Coast casino executives tell WLOX News their bus programs continue to bring in anywhere from 5%-12% of the customers who gamble here.
Rick Carter runs the Copa Casino. He said, "Buses are very important. All business is important to the Copa."
Treasure Bay's Heidi Hamers echoed that comment. "This market is driven by drive in business, as well as the tour buses."
Albert Weston drove one of those buses more than 600 miles, so his passengers could enjoy a long weekend getaway. "The last few years they seem to be coming down to Biloxi instead of going up to Atlantic City," the bus driver said.
Expect to see more tour buses rolling in and out of coast casinos this fall. Marketing executives say the buses help generate business during the slower months of the year.