Here's major news from several of Tunica's casinos where new
theaters, nightclubs, golf courses, reward programs and room
additions and renovations are making news and expanding the
destination's appeal. Following is a guide to the developments.
GOLD STRIKE CASINO RESORT
Tunica's newest casino is the Gold Strike, which opened late
last year as the new -- and expanded -- incarnation of the former
Circus Circus had been solely a casino. Gold Strike debuted with
a new 31-story hotel tower, which at 317 feet, is the tallest
building in Mississippi.
The hotel tower features 1,200 luxury rooms, including 100
regular suites, 20 1,500-square-foot deluxe suites and two
2,000-square-foot super suites. Many rooms have views of the
The resort also features an indoor swimming pool with two
Jacuzzis and an exercise facility, a five-story parking garage, a
24-hour video arcade for under-21 year old guests, three
restaurants and a food court, full-service meeting and convention
facilities and a new theater-style showroom.
This new 800-seat Millennium Theatre is now featuring nightly
performances (except for Tuesday nights) by magician Brett Daniels,
who has appeared on such television programs as the Tonight Show
and Entertainment Tonight.
GRAND CASINO TUNICA
Grand Casino, the largest gaming resort between Las Vegas and
Atlantic City, in April opened its new Cottonwoods Golf Club, an
18-hole championship course designed by Hale Irwin, the 1997 Senior
Player of the Year. To prepare for construction of the 7,000-yard
course, Grand Casino reshaped more than 2,000 acres of its
2,200-acre resort area from riverbed and flat grassland to rolling
hills and elevated plateaus. It hauled more than three million
cubic yards of dirt to the area, adding up to 18 feet of elevation
to land that was once below the
Mississippi River waterline.
A temporary clubhouse opened along with the golf course. The
permanent clubhouse will be completed by the end of the year.
Course fees are $65 for Grand Casino guests and $125 for the
Slated to open by the end of this year or early in 1999 is Grand
Casino's third hotel. The 500-room Terrace will be a luxury
property with a European-style spa and fitness
center and outdoor swimming pool. A Grand Casino spokeswoman
said the new hotel is designed for the leisure market, while Grand
Casino's other two hotel properties target their own markets. The
188-room Grand Casino Hotel, adjacent to the casino, serves high
rollers and guests primarily interested in gaming, while the
568-room Veranda Hotel, connected to the resort's convention
center, is geared to convention and meetings attendees.
Recent additions to the Grand Casino complex include a 200-space
RV park with a lodge and check-in desk, convenience store, lounge,
laundry facilities, swimming pool, tennis court and clay sport
gaming facilities and clubhouse.
Future plans call for a new free-standing entertainment theater,
a second 18-hole championship golf course, an outlet shopping mall
and additional hotel rooms and meeting and banquet space.
HORSESHOE CASINO HOTEL
A year-long $95 million expansion project at the Horseshoe has
resulted in the opening of a new hotel tower, casino expansion, new
restaurants, a 1,100-space parking garage and the Bluesville
The Bluesville complex, which opened in April, is made up of the
Bluesville Showcase Nightclub and a Blues & Legends Hall of
Fame Museum. Both are dedicated to the blues heritage of nearby
Robinsonville, where the casinos are located, and the surrounding
The Bluesville Showcase Nightclub, though a large facility, was
designed to have an intimate atmosphere and the feel of a juke
joint or roadhouse. Legendary blues artists like John Lee Hooker,
Buddy Guy and Pinetop Perkins are being invited to appear but the
program won't be limited to the blues. A variety of music will be
showcased including rock, pop, country and R & B, along with
nationally and internationally known acts.
The nightclub has a main floor and mezzanine level, a dance
floor and three themed-bars equipped with television monitors so
guests can view the show from the bars. Total seating is for 1,000.
The Founders Club, a private VIP club on the mezzanine level, has
sofas and chairs, video monitors, a pool table and a bar featuring
an exclusive wine list and cigars.
The Blues & Legends Hall of Fame Museum traces the story of
the blues from its early days in the Mississippi Delta to Memphis,
Texas, Chicago and finally to contemporary electric blues and
blues-influenced rock. The 5,000-square-foot facility will feature
extensive guitar and harmonic collections, rare blues photography
and art and artifacts. Special areas salute Big Mama Thornton, Ma
Rainey and other women of blues, and Memphis' Beale Street. The
museum is open daily and is free.
The Horseshoe's new 14-floor hotel tower, which opened late last
year, has 311 suites. New restaurants include the Village Square
Buffet and Cafe Sonoma. An expansion of the casino added 15,000
more square feet, giving the facility a total of 45,000 square
feet. The project included an expansion of the poker room and the
addition of 1,450 new slot machines and 70 table games.
HARRAH'S TUNICA CASINO & HOTEL
Earlier this year, Harrah' s launched Harrah's Premier, a
"casino within a casino" designed to reward and recognize dedicated
players with a premium level of service and amenities.
Premier membership is based on a customer's level of tracked
play with points awarded for play at both slot machines and table
games. Memberships are available at three levels: A seven-day pass,
90-day pass and full one-year membership. "In designing Harrah's
Premier we went directly to experienced casino players in the
Tunica market and conducted personal interviews to determine what
services and amenities they desired most," says LuAnn Fetcho,
director of marketing. "As a result we've developed a variety of
special customer enhancements that are not only new to Tunica but,
in many cases to the casino industry."
The Premier casino-within-a-casino features wider aisles, extra
space between every table and slot machine, custom-designed
adjustable slot chairs with arm and foot rests (some even have
vibrating back massage), a sliding tray to hold food and drink and
compartments at each slot machine for coin cups, handbags and other
personal items. Each slot machine also comes with its own telephone
so players can call for refreshments, change, credit, or hotel or
Additional amenities and services include a private Premier
lounge for members, slot machines that can be reserved when members
want to take a break, preferred valet parking, priority access to
restaurants, dedicated cashiers and service desks for members,
complimentary finger foods served throughout the Premier casino and
15% discount on purchases in Harrah's retail shop.
Last fall Harrah's Entertainment, parent company of Harrah's
Tunica, introduced a national player and rewards program called
Total Gold. It allows Harrah's players to earn points for slot play
and redeem them for cash, merchandise, food, lodging or show
tickets at any of Harrah's 16 casinos in North America.
HOLLYWOOD CASINO & HOTEL
The Hollywood Casino has added to its extensive collection of
movie and television memorabilia of the Titanic, with a model of
the stern of the ill-fated ship that was used in the making of the
Installed at the Hollywood Casino this spring, the model is 28
feet long, 12 feet wide, 25 feet high and weighs 6,000 pounds. It
is displayed in a half-million-gallon pool and features lighting
visual effects and physical effects to simulate the moment in the
movie when the ship sank. Remote video cameras with interactive
controls allow visitors to examine the model.
The exhibit also incorporates other memorabilia involving the
Titanic, including two lifeboats used in the movie, the Titanic
boarding tickets won in a poker game by Leonardo DiCaprio's
character, Titanic Captain Smith's jacket and china and silver
pieces featured in the dining room scenes.
The Hollywood Casino Corp., parent of the Hollywood Tunica, is
one of the nation's largest collectors of film and television
memorabilia. Displayed at the Tunica property, on the gaming floor
and in the area surrounding the casino, are the prehistoric car
from The Flintstones, the motorcycle and sidecar from Indiana Jones
and the Temple of Doom, the Captain American motorcycle from Easy
Rider, the Delorean car from Back to the Future, Elvis Presley's
race car from Spinout and scale model trains from Under Siege II,
along with costumes from Cleopatra and The Terminator.
The Hollywood is also planning to renovate its guest rooms and
SAM'S TOWN HOTEL & GAMBLING HALL
Tunica County's first hotel-casino, Sam's Town, unveiled a new
nine-story, 350-room tower addition with atrium lobby about a year
and a half ago. The addition brought its total room count to 860.
The property is now in the midst of a project that will add 15 more
suites to its inventory of 32 by this summer.
Also new will be the Casino Strip Resort Course, a championship,
6,900-yard golf course expected to open this fall. The course is
jointly owned by Sam's Town plus the two other casino hotels that
share its Casino Strip location: The Hollywood Casino & Hotel
and Harrah's Tunica Casino & Hotel.