Mississippi casinos forced to close due to pending threat from Hurricane Sally
By Bob Garcia
The states around the Gulf of Mexico’s northern shores continue to receive bad news
The hurricane season has arrived, and the weather has been ugly in the Southern states. Ahead of Hurricane Sally, the Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) has issued closing down orders for all casinos located on the coast. The commission announced yesterday afternoon that all casino premises needed to be vacated by 4 PM and all guests moved to other locations or choose earlier checkouts.
The hurricane got stronger yesterday and it was believed that it would hit the coast yesterday night; however, many factors in the current weather caused the storm to barely move, so Mississippi was not heavily impacted yet, as the storm might be heading very slowly west-northwestward to northwestward through Tuesday morning.
Casinos such as Beau Rivage set up charter buses to help transport their guests to the airport before the storm arrived. Also, the potential for flood waters coming to the coast was one of the reasons that the MGC made its final decision to issue shut down orders. “I think that hope for the best and prepare for the worst and so this is not our first rodeo, we’ve been through many storms, so we feel very comfortable with the process that we have in place. And so, we’ll just be watching and like I said, praying all goes well, but preparing for anything that could happen,” said Communications MS Operations Regional Director Mary Cracchiolo Spain.
There is still a risk as it is uncertain when and where Sally would make a turn northward or where it could make landfall, but it could still be in Alabama or Mississippi, or even in southeastern Louisiana, as well. The good news is that, specifically for South Mississippi, the threat of extreme rainfall and storm surge has decreased from yesterday. Now, the MGC has to decide when casinos on the coast can go back to business after conditions are further evaluated.