Restaurant closing not a violation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 20, 2000

When the Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel closes its hotel restaurant on July 21, it will not be in violation of agreements with the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

According to state gaming regulations, any new casino formed in the last two years must invest an equal amount of capital in infrastructure as in a casino. For most casinos in Mississippi, the rule means an equal amount of money must be spent on the construction and maintenance of a land-based hotel as on the casino itself.

Because Isle of Capri bought the casino and its entities from Lady Luck, the company are not subject to the same requirements a new venture would have to meet, gaming commission public relations director Ashley Skellie said.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;Isle of Capri is not subject to the new rule because they are taking over the established boat,&uot; Skellie said.

In fact, when Lady Luck opened in 1993, no such requirements were in place as to how much money must be invested in a hotel. About five years ago, the gaming commission began requiring a 25 percent match, and increased it to 100 percent just under two years ago.

Isle of Capri General Manager Wendy Grandin said keeping the restaurant open was not profitable for the casino company.

&uot;There really weren’t that many guests eating at the hotel,&uot; she said, adding most chose to buy their meals on the boat, at nearby John Martin’s or at other establishments in the city. A recent renovation of the casino’s restaurant, now Calypso’s, also prompted the closing.

&uot;It didn’t seem feasible to keep it open,&uot; Grandin said. &uot;We tracked the numbers for a while and found that most guests were already eating at other places.&uot;

The hotel will continue to serve continental breakfasts for guests, and banquet service will also be available.

Don Kreutzer, director of hospitality and services, said Friday the closing will not affect employment. Hotel restaurant employees will be moved to other positions within the casino and its two restaurants, without the loss of benefits.