First Hurricane Gustav roared into the Gulf of Mexico and shortly behind Gustav came Hurricane Ike. With both storms being touted as having the potential to come ashore as Category 4 storms, evacuations were mandated along the Mississippi and Louisiana coastlines. Fears were raised of one of these storms being comparable to Hurricane Katrina that did such extensive damage a few years ago and so millions were evacuated and businesses were closed in anticipation.
Luckily, the storms weakened before reaching landfall so the damage was much less than had been feared. Minimal damage was reported at the casinos, mostly due to mud entering the lobbies or light posts being knocked down. Several casinos did experience some flooding including the Beau Rivage and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, both in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Hard Rock had about 30” of water in the ground floor but there was no damage to the casino floor which is on an upper level of the building.
There may not have been extensive damage done to the casino properties but it couldn’t have been wonderful for revenues as they had to shut down during the normally lucrative Labor Day weekend. The closings are estimated to have cost the Mississippi casino industry alone between $22 and $28 million dollars in lost revenues.