The newly released Yahoo list of “10 best casinos in the U.S. if you love to gamble” puts Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas atop the list and a South Mississippi casino rounding out the Top 10.
“For a mix of beaches, gambling, and golf, head over to Island View Casino Resort situated on the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast,” the Yahoo report says. “It’s considered one of the premier gambling spots in the area, boasting over 2,600 slots, 49 tables, and multiple sports books within its 126,000 square feet of gaming space.”
Island View shares the Top 10 list with two more Vegas casinos, a couple of casino resorts in Atlantic and others scattered across the country.
Two friends since their school days in Gulfport, Rick Carter and Terry Green opened Island View in September 2006.
That was a year after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their Copa Casino, and they went to Las Vegas and bought the Grand Gulfport from Caesars Entertainment.
They’ve invested $400 million to restore the former Grand, restore and open the Beach Tower hotel on the south side of U.S. 90 and build the $75 million Beach Casino.
“Island View Casino Resort actually features two distinct casinos on the property, which gives visitors plenty to explore,” Yahoo says. The casino, hotel, restaurants and other amenities on the beach side are smoke-free and are connected by a bridge over the highway to a hotel and casino where smoking is allowed.
The combined casinos are the largest in the state and the floor-to-ceiling windows in the beach casino make it one of the few casinos with a view.
“It is the only casino in the state of Mississippi owned by locals,” said state Rep. Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach, and the biggest tax contributor to the city and Gulfport School District.