Universal Music Group to Build $1.2 Billion ‘Music-Based’ Casino Resort in Biloxi

Posted on: October 13, 2020, 12:08h. 

Last updated on: October 14, 2020, 09:59h.

In Biloxi, Mississippi, plans are underway for a $1.2 billion hotel and casino backed by the Universal Music Group (UMG) that has the potential to give the nearby Hard Rock Casino Biloxi a run for its money.

Universal Music Group (UMG)
A rendering of Universal Music Group’s proposed Broadwater Beach hotel, which could blow the Hard Rock out of the water. (Image: UMUSIC)

The project is a collaboration between Universal Music and Miami-based investment group Dakia U-Ventures, and would be the first casino resort owned by a major global music corporation. It promises to be a “music-based experiential hotel,” according to a joint statement by the developers.

The new venue is part of UMG’s and Dakai’s new UMUSIC Hotel line, which will see the establishment of two more venues in Atlanta and Orlando. Biloxi will be the only property with a casino.

The UMG in ‘Humungous’

UMG is the biggest music company in the world, and has the potential to dominate the live mainstream music scene in a city like Biloxi, post-pandemic.

Over the years it has gobbled up dozens of iconic record labels, from EMI to Capitol Records and Decca to Def Jam. Among its thousands of signed artists are some of the best-selling acts of all time, including The Beatles, Queen, Elton John, The Eagles, and Madonna, as well as current stars like Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and Drake.

UMG could take huge swathes of contemporary artists out of the equation for venues like Hard Rock, which would be a blow for a company that holds live music entertainment at the core of its identity.

Bruce Resnikoff, president and CEO of Universal Music Enterprises, said UMUSIC Hotels would highlight their host cities’ “rich music heritages and provide new opportunities for artists to reach fans in immersive, innovative and authentic ways.”

Broadwater Beach

The resort will be built on the site of the Broadwater Beach Hotel, marina and golf course, which was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. The resort began life in 1939 as an illegal gaming house, one of many along the Gulf Coast to which authorities were prepared to turn a blind eye.

In its 1950s and 1960s heyday, the gambling stopped, and the venue was reinvented as a glamorous resort destination, perhaps the premiere resort on the Gulf Coast.

When Mississippi legalized casino gambling in the early 1990s, President Casinos acquired the property and added a riverboat. But in 2002, the operator, saddled with corporate debt, filed for bankruptcy, although the casino remained in operation until it was acquired by developers at a bankruptcy auction in 2015, less than a month before Katrina hit.

In June this year, the Biloxi City Council approved a tourism tax incentive for the redevelopment of the plot, according to the city resolution.