Opened two years ago, Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant in Biloxi, Mississippi will close by September 19, putting more than 350 workers out of jobs. It will be the second Mississippi casino to close this year; Caesars Entertainment closed Harrah’s Tunica Hotel & Casino in June due to falling revenue and the company’s debt load. Casino officials said the Sims family, which owns the land on which the Margaritaville was built, has refused to renegotiate the lease and therefore the owners, MVH Holding LLC, could not secure financing to build a hotel.
Attorney Michael Cavanaugh, representing the casino owners, said, “The best outcome would be that something could be worked out with them and one of the investor groups that we’ve been talking to comes in and goes forward.”
Cavanaugh said the 40-investor ownership group has no plans to seek bankruptcy protection. He noted singer Jimmy Buffett does not share ownership but licenses the Margaritaville name. Buffett has waived licensing fees the past two years to help out the casino, Cavanaugh said.
Chief Executive Officer Doug Shipley said, “The story here is without a hotel, we cannot operate in a competitive market. You need to have the amenities to be able to compete. It’s a fact that people play where they stay.” Shipley said. One of the smallest of 12 Gulf Coast casinos, Margaritaville is one of only three lacking a hotel.