Hurricane Sally Forces Mississippi Coastal Casinos to Close, Even As Louisiana’s Reopen

Posted on: September 15, 2020, 12:47h. 

Last updated on: September 15, 2020, 03:39h.

A dozen casinos in Mississippi remained closed early this week, as Hurricane Sally stormed toward the Gulf Coast.

Hurricane Sally
Mississippi’s Gulf Coast casinos were closed as Hurricane Sally barreled toward the state. In Louisiana, casinos damaged in an earlier hurricane were reopened. (Image: ABC-13 Houston)

In an Emergency Order of Closure, the Mississippi Gaming Commission shut down all 12 hotel-casinos along the coast on Monday. The order remains in effect until the commission issues a directive reopening the casinos.

The directive requires casino patrons to evacuate, leaving only essential employees.

Mississippi is home to 26 commercial casinos. Eight of the 12 casinos on the Magnolia State’s Gulf Coast are in the Biloxi area.

Hurricane Sally, a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of at least 85 mph, was expected to make landfall late Tuesday or early Wednesday near the Mississippi-Alabama border.

The slow-moving hurricane likely will bring heavy rainfall to the Gulf Coast before its remnants veer east during the week toward Montgomery, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, according to the Weather Channel.

Lake Charles Casinos Reopen

Hurricane Sally is the third strong storm in recent weeks to churn northward across the Gulf of Mexico, targeting the coastal states.

In late August, Tropical Storm Marco and Hurricane Laura pounded Louisiana. Tropical Storm Marco washed ashore near the mouth of the Mississippi River south of Baton Rouge, bringing rainfall.

Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm, landed south of Lake Charles with winds up to 150 mph. The destructive hurricane killed dozens along its path, and created widespread power outages and flooding.

Hurricane Laura also damaged the four commercial casinos in the Lake Charles area, forcing them to close temporarily. One of these, the Isle of Capri riverboat casino, came unmoored, striking a bridge. A tugboat later brought it back to its original site.

As of Tuesday, all four Lake Charles-area hotel-casinos were open again, including the Isle of Capri, according to Lt. Robert Fontenot of the Louisiana State Police.

The Isle of Capri received some damage to its motor system, which is still being repaired, Fontenot told Casino.org. However, the riverboat did not sustain damage that could endanger the public, he said.

They aren’t taking on water,” Fontenot told Casino.org.

Regarding Hurricane Sally, Fontenot said no commercial casinos in Louisiana were closed Tuesday during the storm’s approach east of the Bayou State.

Katrina’s Destruction

Hurricane’s Sally’s path this week gave rise to concerns that it might replicate some of the damage caused in 2015, when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast.

With wind speeds of 127 mph, Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 storm, made landfall near Grand Isle, Louisiana. It caused severe damage throughout the region.

The hurricane killed 1,833 people in five states combined.

Casinos in the Biloxi area were damaged during Hurricane Katrina. Barge casinos were torn from their their moorings in a 25-foot wall of water, tossing some onto land 200 yards from the shore, according to the Associated Press.