Isle of Capri announces construction plans for Biloxi

Published 6:09 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nearly 17 months after Hurricane Katrina, Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., says it’s planning a new $180 million land-based structure that should catapult it Biloxi property to the “pre-Katrina levels,” according to a statement released Monday.

The company said the project will be largely funded by insurance proceeds from the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane, which damaged or destroyed thousands of structures in Mississippi and Louisiana, including a dozen casino barges along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Isle of Capri closed for repairs for nearly four months after the storm.

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Before Katrina, Mississippi law limited casinos to barges along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast. Weeks after the storm, lawmakers met in special session and, at the request of Gov. Haley Barbour, changed the law to allow coastal casinos to build a short distance on shore.

The new Isle of Capri in Biloxi will have about 2,100 slot machines, 50 table games and a new poker room. About 45,000 square feet of convention space that is currently serving as gaming space will be restored to its original use. The casino will expand its tropical buffet, rebuild rebuilding its Farraddays’ steakhouse and add another restaurant.

Isle of Capri’s president and chief operating officer Tim Hinkley said this month that he will resign after a successor is named. The company last year moved its corporate headquarters from Biloxi to the St. Louis suburb or suburb Creve Coeur, Mo.

Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. operates 13 casinos in 11 locations. It had the first floating casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, opening on Biloxi’s Point Cadet in August 1992.