Official: Natchez not affected by Isle changes

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 17, 2006

Natchez &8212; Changes for the Isle of Capri&8217;s casinos in Vicksburg and Bossier City, La., won&8217;t affect Natchez, local general manager Jack Sours said Thursday.

Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. plans to sell the Vicksburg and Bossier City properties to Legends Gaming LLC for $240 million.

The Vicksburg and Bossier City sales are subject to approval by the Mississippi Gaming Commission and Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

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&8220;We will continue as usual,&8221; Sours said.

In fact, the local gaming boat is planning to add a poker room, Sours said.

Meanwhile, Sours is not concerned about competition from two potential new casinos in Natchez.

Charles Cato has had plans for more than two years to open an Emerald Star Casino just south of the Mississippi River bridge. He has said he hopes to begin construction later this year, but his deal to buy the Ramada Inn as part of the plans is still pending.

A second company &8212; Expect a Miracle &8212; is in talks with the city to put a casino at the base of Roth&8217;s Hill Road.

&8220;Adding more capacity to the market would certainly grow the market,&8221; Sours said.

But Sours does not expect Natchez to grow as large a gaming destination as other areas of the state.

Unlike larger casino companies on the coast or in Tupelo, the two casino companies interested in opening new boats in Natchez are &8220;not any big players,&8221; Sours said.