BILOXI, MS (WLOX) –
Following a night of heavy rain and strong winds as Hurricane Nate made its way to the Coast, the Mississippi Gaming Commission has given the all-clear for area casinos to reopen.
Gaming operations were ordered to be closed by 5 p.m. Saturday as storm conditions worsened; leaving some guests unable to evacuate. By nightfall, Highway 90 began to take on water.
The exterior of Hard Rock sustained some exterior damage, and the Golden Nugget received about 4 feet of water; although it did not affect the casino or hotel.
“We will have some sheetrock work to do, but the casino is fine and most importantly everyone in the hotel is fine, all of our team members are fine, and we’re ready to rock and roll,” said Golden Nugget Vice President of Marketing Scott King.
Roughly 300 guests were at the Golden Nugget when the order was issued. Coast resident Julie Curtis had a room on the 11th floor.
“It was interesting,” said Curtis. “I watched a lot of boats sink and the waves were quite crazy. The wind was pretty strong.”
By Sunday, the water began to recede and the properties were able to recover. All casinos were given the ok to reopen at 11:30 a.m. The properties on Highway 90 – Hard Rock, Beau Rivage, and the Golden Nugget – all shared posts on Facebook announcing that doors were open.
However, just down the road, Margaritaville was handed a much different fate. The resort posted a statement online Sunday afternoon, saying in part:
“Margaritaville Resort Biloxi will be closed until further notice so our team can assess the damage around the property. We thank you for your patience and apologize for any inconvenience. We will open our doors as soon as possible and will continue to make updates on Facebook as soon as we have more information. If you have upcoming reservations with us, we will be contacting you as soon as possible.”
While gaming has reopened to the public, much of Highway 90 remains closed. Drivers are asked to avoid that stretch of roadway as crews work to clean up the mess left behind by Hurricane Nate.