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Hancock Co. casino opening ahead of schedule

Hollywood Casino in Hancock County will open Aug. 31.

The casino, formerly Casino Magic, had been expected to open in the fourth quarter after repairs from Hurricane Katrina.

“Construction and restoration came together very quickly in these last few months, allowing us to open much earlier than anticipated,” Marty Moore, senior director of marketing for Hollywood Casino, said Friday.

John Jagunich, CEO and president of Hollywood Casino Bay St. Louis, said hard work by the parent company, Penn National Gaming, staff, Roy Anderson Construction and local officials was responsible for the early opening.

He said about 75 percent of the former employees are returning.

Hollywood Casino will open with the Hollywood Hotel offering 291 guest rooms, 900 new slot machines, 20 table games and a new 6-table poker room. Three of four restaurants will also open.

The Bridge’s Clubhouse Grille will reopen with the Bridges Golf Course in mid-October.

The fully renovated casino operation, land-based, temporary facility has 17,000 square feet of function space and three private meeting rooms.