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If you think casinos are all about gambling, think again

Mississippi’s casinos are resorting to amenities. That is, they’re much more than gaming these days and offer such extras as restaurants, golf courses, spas and entertainment to guests. For that reason, many of the state’s casinos now bill themselves as resort destinations to have a wider appeal.

Ryan Griffin, public information manager at Pearl River Resort, said having a mix of entertainment and dining options is important because people want to visit a complete resort.

“Pearl River Resort offers amenities with activities for most everyone, and we encourage our guests to participate in those activities they enjoy most,” he said. “One amenity Pearl River Resort offers the area is great live entertainment. We have nightly entertainment in three lounges at Silver Star and Golden Moon, and we also have headlining acts featured in our convention center.”

Busy lives, busy breaks

The trend for casinos to become resort destinations has a lot to do with the busy lives people lead today, said Joyce McKinney, director of community and public relations for Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica.

“In our everyday lives of lists, there is so much to do. We can only allot so much time for getaways and fun,” she said. “Coupled with that is our desire to create experiences with our families and friends. The casinos of old were dedicated to gaming. In order to become that destination for our diverse family and friends, we had to create the whole experience that was fun for adults, children and all in between.”

Harrah’s Entertainment spokeswoman Valerie Morris said the company’s Grand Casino Resort in Tunica has always been a resort destination. Besides having the largest gaming floor between Atlantic City and Las Vegas, the Grand Tunica boasts a Hale Irwin-designed golf course, a sporting clays and hunting center, Bellissimo Spa and Salon, three hotels, three pools, seven restaurants, three gift shops and a 200-space RV park.

In addition to the Grand, Harrah’s owns the Horseshoe and Sheraton casinos in Tunica. All three are resorts with numerous amenities.

She added that the properties have some exciting new restaurant announcements to be made public in the near future.

“The newest amenity to be created by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is Lake Pushmataha,” Griffin said. “This 280-acre fishing lake is open from sunrise to sunset each day and offers bass, catfish, bream and crappie fishing. This is a no-wake lake and alcohol is not allowed.”

Using the close proximity of Graceland in Memphis, the Gold Strike is now running a special package through the end of the year. In addition to two nights stay, breakfast buffets and some free play, the package includes tickets to Graceland and an Elvis-inspired souvenir gift.

At Pearl River Resort, there are two large casinos but there is also a long list of amenities that include a full-service spa and salon, two nationally acclaimed golf courses, a water park and white sand beach and live entertainment.

“Of course, no resort is complete without an array of restaurants, and with 16 different dining options, Pearl River Resort has something for every palate,” Griffin said.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.


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