City helps Magnolia Bluffs Casino and Hotel parent company celebrate a year of ownership

Published 12:59 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2023

NATCHEZ — This week marks the one-year anniversary of Saratoga Casino Holdings’ purchase of Magnolia Bluff’s Casino in Natchez.

The company purchased the casino and its accompanying hotel in April 2022, and had to go through the process of licensing and meeting other Mississippi gaming rules and regulations before taking over operations in October 2022.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said words of encouragement and presented a resolution to Tim Morrissey, vice president and general manager at Magnolia Bluffs, on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, the actual anniversary of the closing of the purchase.

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Gibson said the casino and hotel is one of the area’s largest employers and its sponsorships, including in part the Adams County Sheriff’s Rodeo, Harmony in the Park, Juneteenth Legends Celebration, the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society and its partnership with Alcorn State University, make the qualify of life for residents here richer.

Saratoga Gaming took over the lease and all included casino obligations to the city when it purchased Magnolia Bluffs. Part of that obligation is sharing a portion of its revenue with citizens of Natchez in the form of contributions to the Natchez Community Development Fund. In 2022, the casino’s payment into the fund was $243,000. A portion of those funds went toward the renovation and reopening of the North Natchez Youth Center and will go toward the ongoing renovation of the Duncan Park Golf Clubhouse.

The company said in a press release it expects the 2023 payment will increase to $273,000.

In addition, Morrissey said the company has contributed and additional $80,000 to the community in the form of donations and sponsorship of community events.

Total payments to the Community Development Fund since Magnolia Bluffs Casino and Hotel’s beginning more than 11 years ago total more than $2 million.

Gibson said Magnolia Bluffs Casino “is a great corporate citizen…Our city is better for having you here.”

“The people of Natchez have been extremely welcoming and I truly enjoy being a part of this community. I take great pride in being an active member of many local organizations and look forward to leading the Community Development Fun to achieve the best benefit for the local community,” Morrissey said.

He said his company did not fully realize the beauty of the Natchez community until they completed the sale and began work here.

“It wasn’t until we really took ownership that we were able to take stock in what a beautiful community we bought into, both the natural beauty…but also the community and the inclusion of this community and everything that goes on in this city that makes it so unique,” Morrissey said. “The casino uniquely sees the tourism and the great local folks that make this city what it is. We feel blessed to be a part of this community and to employ so many great team members. We saw when we were buying the property the asset we were really purchasing was over 200 amazing team members that make our guests feel important, that make our guest experience unique for every guest who walks through our doors. That is what drives us, that we have a fantastic team.”

In the press release, Morrissey said to date, Magnolia Bluffs Casino Hotel has awarded $9.4 million in jackpots.