Biloxi Margaritaville Closes

Margaritaville Casino in Biloxi, Miss., wasted away a little sooner than expected, shutting down at 10 p.m. Sept. 15, four days earlier than previously announced.

The Gulf Casino was open for just two years. The casino’s owner filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection the next day. Mike Cavanaugh, the attorney for casino operator MVB Holdings, said employees would be paid through Sept. 19.

Cavanaugh said the company was unable to come to an agreement with the landlords to build a hotel on the property, which the management said is needed for the casino to stay in business.

“Everybody wants a better outcome,” Cavanaugh told the Sun Herald. “Everybody but the landlords.” He added that the landlords cannot step in and run the casino. “When we close down, the license is history.”

Gaming commission regulations require a casino to have a 200-room hotel and other amenities before opening.

Don Dornan, a lawyer for landlord Clay Point LLC, said the company planned to ask Harrison County Circuit Judge Michael Ward Sept. 17 to give it control of the property.

The bankruptcy freezes the state court case, leaving a judge to sort out the mess.

Clay Point said in court papers in July that MVB Holdings hasn’t paid rent since the casino opened, and owes more than $3.8 million, plus $500,000 in taxes that Clay Point had to step in and pay on Margaritaville’s behalf. MVB said in its bankruptcy filing that its assets and debts are both between $10 million and $50 million.

The company listed 164 creditors and $4.2 million in unsecured debt, including $1.38 million owed to Roy Anderson Corp, the Biloxi contractor that built the casino. The casino opened in 2012 with a concert by Jimmy Buffett.