Silver Slipper Casino Workers Rescued from Flood Waters During Tropical Storm Cristobal

Posted on: June 8, 2020, 02:25h. 

Last updated on: June 8, 2020, 02:53h.

Approximately 100 workers at the Silver Slipper Casino in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, had to be rescued by first responders Sunday after flooding blocked their passage from the resort to the employee parking lot.

Silver Slipper casino Mississippi Cristobal
First responders rescue Silver Slipper casino workers on the Mississippi Gulf Coast during Tropical Storm Cristobal. (Image: Twitter)

Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall Sunday evening in southeastern Louisiana. Storm surge warnings were issued across the region, including in southern Mississippi. New Orleans urged all people who live outside the levee flood protection system to evacuate the area.

Cristobal, the third named storm of the 2020 hurricane season, spared casinos in Biloxi, Mississippi, and New Orleans, as both adequately weathered the storm. But casino employees at Mississippi’s Silver Slipper weren’t so fortunate.

As Cristobal made its way through, flooding, it prevented a shuttle from transporting workers to the employee parking lot. First responders in Hancock County dispatched a high-water vehicle to make numerous trips through the roughly five feet of water.

The evacuation of the Silver Slipper workers took about four-and-a-half hours.

Silver Slipper Backstory

The Silver Slipper is the successor to the former President Casino Broadwater Resort in Biloxi. The property was sold to developers just before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Its new owners at the time had planned to relocate the riverboat to Bay St. Louis, but its barge was destroyed in the hurricane.

Following the devastation caused by Katrina, the Mississippi Gaming Commission and state legislature changed its regulations on commercial gambling to allow land-based operations. The barge requirement was revoked to allow casinos to be on land, so long as they stay within 800 feet of the shore.

The Silver Slipper opened in November of 2006 as the first casino to be built from the ground up over land on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Nevada-based Full House Resorts acquired the Silver Slipper in October 2012 for $70 million.

Today, it has a 129-room hotel, beach bar, five restaurants, and a casino floor featuring 1,000 slot machines, 29 table games, and sportsbook.

Tough Times for Parent Company

Full House, like so many other casino operators, has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. All five of its properties were closed during the coronavirus crisis.

The company, however, secured more than $5.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The program, issued through the CARES Act, initially barred small gaming businesses from accessing the largely forgivable loans.

Full House President and CEO Daniel Lee is married to US Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nevada), who called on the Treasury Department and SBA to amend the PPP relief requirements to include companies that derive their revenue from gambling.

For the SBA to take the position that these small businesses are not eligible for needed aid because of their involvement in the gaming industry belies the economic realities of their location and will doom countless small businesses in Nevada to bankruptcy,” Lee said in April.

Later that month, the Treasury announced small casino businesses can apply for PPP loans. They become forgivable so long as at least 75 percent of the money is used to continue paying workers.

Traded on NASDAQ, Full House shares are down more than 40 percent from their pre-coronavirus value.