Mississippi's Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant Finally Has a New Owner

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The Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant, situated on the waterfront in Biloxi, Mississippi, has remained unoccupied for the past nine years. On Thursday, it was sold to MIC, a company owned by Harry Mohney. He is a well-known operator of strip clubs in Las Vegas and is recognized for his acquisition of the Dick's Last Resort bar and restaurant chain in 2019, as reported by the Sun Herald newspaper.

The Decline of Margaritaville

The 68,000 square-foot building, situated in the Back Bay area of Biloxi at the previous site of East Harrison County Industrial Park, was constructed for $48 million. It was inaugurated by music icon Jimmy Buffett and Grand Casinos founder Tom Brosiq on May 22, 2012. The establishment operated under a license from Buffett's restaurant and bar brand.

Margaritaville Biloxi was equipped with 820 slot machines and 18 table games, along with two tiers of dining areas and a marina that provided waterside amusement, food, and beverages. In a pioneering move for the state, the casino introduced outdoor gaming in June 2013, featuring three blackjack tables, making it the first establishment in Mississippi to provide such an option.

The venture was short-lived and shut down just over two years after it opened, with its final day of operation being September 15, 2014. The closure was attributed to an unresolved disagreement with the landlord that hindered the necessary financing to construct a hotel. Following its closure, the property was put up for sale the subsequent year with an asking price of $18 million.

New Plans for the Site

Initially, the frontmen of the rock band KISS, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, had contemplated renovating and reopening the former Margaritaville as their second Rock & Brews Casino. The project was scheduled for March 15, 2020, with a KISS performance at the Coast Coliseum in Biloxi. However, both were canceled due to the pandemic shutdown, and the duo's interest in acquiring the property diminished.

Now, as reported by the Sun Herald, the site of the former Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant will not be turned into a new casino. Instead, Mohney is planning a multi-faceted attraction for the location, including two restaurants, one of which will likely be Dick's Last Resort. Additionally, the entertainment offerings at this venue will include bars, karaoke, and ax throwing.

One aspect of the property's time as a casino will be retained. Mohney's attorney has stated that a boxing ring on the premises will be used to reintroduce fights to the area. Moreover, the exact sale price for the once-Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant has not been disclosed, but the listed price was $4.9 million.

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