After six years, the million renovation at the Golden Moon Hotel & Casino at Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia, Mississippi, was completed and revealed to the public on January 31. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson said, “When our investors had confidence in our performance at the Pearl River Resort, this enabled them to invest in our future with us as partners.” The operation refinanced its debt last year, borrowing another million for renovations.
In 2009, the Choctaws cut Golden Moon’s hours to weekends only, due to the recession and competition. The following year the tribe closed the Golden Moon and turned it into a concert venue. The original Choctaw casino, Silver Star, which opened in 1994, remained in operation across the street on Mississippi 16. In fact, said Pearl River President and Chief Executive Officer Holly Gagnon, “If you want to change your luck, you just walk across the sky bridge.”
Gagnon and other managers took over in mid-2012, and since then Moody’s said casino profitability has improved. Gagnon said that’s due to “better marketing, better negotiating, better operating.”
Architecture group Marnell Companies of Las Vegas designed the renovation, with input from Gagnon and players. “A lot of this had to do with feedback from our customers,” Gagnon said. “We went to other markets and asked why they weren’t playing with us anymore. Our current players were adamant they needed to see the Golden Moon back because they missed it so much.”
The remodel features a new 70,000-square-foot gaming floor with 1,150 slot machines, 25 table games, an elevated 14-table poker room, a one-of-a-kind video wall and a new center bar. Marnell also designed a dramatic architectural ceiling treatment to create a more intimate atmosphere, warm cove lighting, decorative fixtures and special carpeting that incorporates Choctaw motifs.