01/23/2012

Shreveport-Bossier City: Margaritaville Mixes it Up

The Shreveport-Bossier City area has long been touted as a Sportsman’s Paradise for its vast array of wildlife, park and lake areas. However, for at least the last two decades, the area also has transformed into a lively hub of exciting southern gaming available through its many riverboat casinos scattered along both sides of the Red River.

That hub is about to get bigger with the coming of one of the country’s premier casino resorts. Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Casino Resort, which is currently lighting up the Las Vegas strip and soon to join the Biloxi shoreline, will make Bossier City the home of its third locale with a grand opening slated for spring 2013. The casino resort will be located in Bossier City’s bustling outdoor Louisiana Boardwalk shopping center, a popular tourist attraction, and located right next door to center’s anchor store, the Bass Pro Shop.

The goal of a Margaritaville experience is to feel carefree and just have fun, officials say. “We want you to have the same experience you’d have if you would get on a cruise ship to go to the islands, lie around on the beach and sip on margaritas. It’s a very laidback, fun atmosphere,” said co-manager William Trotter II of Lafayette-based Bossier Casino Venture, which is developing the $195-million casino project.

“When you walk into Margaritaville, we want it to be a place where you’re going to forget about what you left behind – the bills, the kids, the mortgage, everything… It’s going to be lavishly landscaped just like if you were on the islands.” And as with any trip to the islands, there’s plenty of excitement in store for a Margaritaville adventurer. Trotter said they want to introduce the area to a whole new concept of entertainment, food and gaming.

The fun will start with the casino, which will include 30,000 square feet of open gaming space on an entire, single level floor featuring everything from 1, 275 of the newest, most popular slot machines to 38 table games, including all-time favorites like Baccarat.

Libations will flow from Margaritaville’s popular It’s Five O’clock Somewhere bar, to be located in the center of the casino floor.

The next level of the resort will include a 450-foot Margaritaville restaurant, able to seat up to 350 people, with a fine dining menu that includes everything from fresh seafood straight from the Gulf of Mexico to fine steaks and wines. In keeping with the island theme, the unique seating will showcase a variety of boat styles as opposed to traditional seating and booths.

Besides the gaming and restaurants, one of the casino resort’s most anticipated structures will be its two-story event complex, which includes a 400-room hotel and open event space that can accommodate up to 1,000 guests for everything from art exhibits and boat shows to banquets. The ground floor of the center will serve as the go-to nightclub spot to catch of some of the hottest live local, regional and national music acts. In what is sure to be a jaw-dropping attraction, each night Margaritaville’s famous, man-made volcano structure will rumble and erupt with smoke and lava, shooting out a sacrificial maiden who will slide down the luge into a margarita blender-like structure to kick off the entertainment. Of course, to add to the cruise-like atmosphere, Margaritaville will also include a pool deck area with a swim-up bar, which will connect to the second-level restaurant and dining area. Guests can relax and unwind in the spa or work it all off in the fitness center, both of which will overlook the pool area.

Finding all of those features in one place sounds too good to be true, right? Think again! Construction is set to begin this month, and while some casino owners have raised concerns about the casino joining an already-crowded field of properties, Trotter couldn’t be more excited about what the addition of Margaritaville will mean to the area’s casino offerings.

“Our market studies show that we’re going to grow the market 13 percent and as the saying goes, a rising tide raises all the votes,” Trotter said. “We’re not going to kill any boat or racetrack- we’re going to bring new people to the market. We’re going to bring in new, fun entertainment.”

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