Natchez Casino Closes

Isle of Capri Casinos will close its casino in Natchez, one of the oldest gambling houses in Mississippi.

St. Louis-based Isle of Capri has owned the Natchez property, a dockside casino with 520 slot machines and six table games, since 2000.

“We are proud of all that we have accomplished together and we thank our team members for their dedication and hard work in the many years we have operated in Natchez,” said Virginia McDowell, the Isle of Capri’s president and chief executive officer, said in a news release Tuesday.

The Isle of Capri said it will sell its Natchez hotel and certain related non-gambling assets to Casino Holding Investment Partners, the parent company of Magnolia Bluffs Casino, for $11.5 million.

The transaction is expected to close in October 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.

The Natchez casino generated $23 million in revenue in fiscal year 2015. A company snapshot published in June noted that since Magnolia Bluffs Casino opened in late 2012 the Isle of Capri’s gambling revenues in Natchez have declined — even as overall company revenues increased 5 percent in 2015.

The Isle of Capri leases approximately 24 acres of land in connection with the Natchez operations, paying an annual rent of approximately $1.1 million. The company also leases approximately 7.5 acres for parking and owns six additional acres and the property in which its hotel is located.

Mississippi Gaming Commission deputy executive director Jay McDaniel said no applications for changes or restructuring at either casino have been submitted yet.

“We require plans when ownership changes, submissions for any kind of new structure or anything like that, making sure anything that needs to be approved through the commission is done correctly,” he said. “Typically a company makes a decision and we help them work through it.”

The Isle of Capri is one of 18 casinos that run along the Mississippi River from Tunica to Natchez. There are 12 coastal casinos.