Mississippi Regulators Approve Hard Rock Hotel, Casino

Fri July 25, 2003 - National Edition

The Mississippi Gaming Commission on Wednesday approved the site and development of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi.

The new casino is expected to open in May 2005 at a site adjacent to Beau Rivage Casino and Hotel in Biloxi.

Premier Entertainment will own and operate the $255 million resort.

”I think Hard Rock brings a brand to the coast that is recognized worldwide,’ said Joe Billhimer, president and chief operating officer of Premier Entertainment.

Premier plans to begin construction in October pending a final go-ahead from the commission. That could come during a September vote.

The development will feature a 10-story hotel with 304 rooms, a Hard Rock Cafe, a 1,200-person capacity Hard Rock Live Performance venue, a pool with a beach area and a nightclub on the top floor of the hotel.

The casino will have a single 48,500-square-foot gaming floor with 1,500 slot machines and 50 table games.

”The Hard Rock is an indication of the bar being raised to a true destination resort,’ said Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

Premier Entertainment has a licensing agreement with the Rank Corp., a British company that owns Hard Rock franchises east of the Mississippi River, said Dan McDaniel, a Jackson lawyer who represents the Rank Corp.

In joining 12 existing casinos, a Hard Rock Casino would boost the image of Gulf Coast as a travel destination, Gregory said.