Grand Bahama Casino Under New Management

Monday, 30 November 2009 00:00 News Editor
Today is the first official day of operation for the former Isle of Capri casino in Our Lucaya, Grand Bahama under the management of Treasure Bay, according to the Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace.

In March, Isle of Capri announced it would not be renewing its lease, which ended on May 31. Since then, the government worked out an agreement with the company to stay on until a new operator was found.

Yesterday, Vanderpool-Wallace told The Freeport News in a telephone interview that the transition would occur today.

"They will be open and operating. The transition team from Treasure Bay is going to be there... Everything will be as normal and business will continue. I was assured they were going to be there and everything was in order," he said.

When The Freeport News visited the facility yesterday, the signs bearing the Isle of Capri's name were still erected in front of the building. Barricades had been put up restricting access to the turnaround, and the casino's hurricane shutters were halfway closed.

Reporters placed a call to the casino for general manager Edward Llambias, but were told that he was not in, and that he would be the only person authorized to speak to the media.

In an interview with The Freeport News last week, Llambias had said that come Monday, November 30, the casino would open under a new name.

When asked why the branding (the new signs) were not put in place as of yesterday, the minister said that was not a major concern.

"I'm sure that there is going to be a perfect switchover between Treasure Bay and Isle of Capri. All the material is on the island... but obviously it's going to take a few days before they can get all of the machinery, all of the signs and identification and everything done, because obviously that can't be done all in 24 hours, so we're not going to worry much about that," he said.

"We're concerned about making sure the casino is up and operating. In terms of getting all the signage and everything done, that may take a few days."

In Llambias' interview last Monday, he said the staff was in the process of "airing and organizing" the property for its first day and would likely spend the rest of the week doing so.

The process seemed to be moving along quite well, he said, and the staff was excited and looking forward to "a fresh start."

Besides some employees who elected to accept severance benefits, Llambias said the remainder of the staff will continue to be employed under the new operator.

"We are looking forward to a new beginning with a great company that has a proven track record for success in all of the markets that they have been in," he said.

A press release issued by the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation in September announced that Treasure Bay, which is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, had been selected as the replacement operator for the casino.

Since then, the company has been working on completing the requirements for the issuance of a certificate of consent from The Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas, and meeting the licensing requirements of the Gaming Board.

The company has said previously that it would be upgrading the casino's equipment and introducing a vibrant marketing program.

Source: The Nassau Guardian