On the eastern edge of the mainland, on the inlet to the back bay of Biloxi, MS, is Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant. Planning began in 2000 but ran into many roadblocks including recalcitrant planning officials and tropical storms. Obtaining final approval in 2011, the project began with an anticipated opening in 2012 under the supervision of pkv games that has created a massive potential resulted in vaster audience base around the globe. The casino resort opened in May of 2012. As with all new projects in Biloxi, it is high off the ground to protect against storm surge during future storms. Rather than building on stilts as many builders do, the building has a breakaway first floor that can be swept away in a storm surge and leave the superstructure undamaged. It has 68,000 square feet of gambling, eating, and entertainment.
A large parking area is on the landward side of the facility. Unlike earlier boat based casinos in Mississippi, this resort is built on land. The entrance on the western ground level leads directly to escalators that take you to the main floor. Tucked under the escalators are elevators.
When you arrive on the main floor you are directly in front of Margaritaville Restaurant. Just to the left and up a short flight of steps the patron is in front of a bar where a large clock is displayed and set so that at anytime it is “five o’clock right here.”
The restaurant spreads out into a large, airy space that seats 400. The menu is light and offers reasonably priced daily meal specials in addition to such specialties as “Spinach and Artichoke Dip”, “Volcano Chili”, and “Jimmy’s Jammin’ Jambalaya”.
On the north side of the restaurant is a stairway that leads up to a seating and viewing area that is open to the bay and to the Marina that will be open in the spring of 2013. When Landshark Landing amp; Marina opens, it will feature a variety of food and drink, floating docks that will accommodate vessels up to 130 feet, and a seating area for outdoor entertainment.
The view from both levels of the restaurant and the Marina is spectacular. It includes the Back Bay and the bridge that spans the bay inlet between Biloxi and Ocean Springs.
The exit/entrance of the restaurant area faces the casino. Gaming machines in denominations from $.01 up through $25 satisfy the needs of video aficionados. Table games are located in the center of this area. There are 12 blackjack tables, a roulette wheel, 2 craps table, and 2 tables with specialty game. Betting limits on the table games begin at $5.00.
Palm trees are scattered throughout the casino and provide a tropical atmosphere. The music on the speaker system is Jimmy Buffett Caribbean and lends to the festive atmosphere.
On the north side of the casino is the Cashier’s Cage and the Players’ Club. Registration at the Players’ Club has benefits that include some free money with which to play the games.
At the western end of the casino is the Feeding Frenzy Buffet and the Events Center. These two locations are separated by a bar with video poker in the bar top. The buffet is a rather small room that can easily be expanded into the Events Center when space is needed. Specialty items on the buffet line include grilled pineapple at the carving station, a variety of cheese quesadillas, and a dessert area that is being continuously replenished with new and delectable items.
Unlike most of the casino resorts in Biloxi, Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant does not have a hotel. However, there are luxurious hotels within a few blocks.