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South Mississippi Living 4/07

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Silver Slipper's golden year

Casino has big plans for guests, workers

November 9, 2007

HANCOCK COUNTY -- The crowd pouring into Silver Slipper Casino on opening day Nov. 9, 2006 was just the start of an amazing first year for General Manager John Ferrucci.

Besides putting 700 people back to work in Hancock County after Hurricane Katrina, a highlight of the first year was "how pleasantly surprised we were by the reaction of our guests," he said, "and the positive comments that continue to this day."

CEO Paul Alanis and the investors took a leap of faith, building Silver Slipper on the Coast after the storm.

"We were the Hancock County tourism business of the year for 2007. Our first year. We were thrilled," Ferrucci said. With that kind of year, "We're just now talking in earnest about our next plans of construction." They hope to begin building a hotel, a larger casino and "just a lot of wonderful amenities" in March 2008 and to open Dec. 31, 2009.

Plans call for an enlarged parking garage, two new restaurants, an entertainment venue for up to 700 people, meeting and banquet space for 500, a world-class spa and a wedding chapel overlooking the water.

Silver Slipper just opened "the only RV park on the beach anywhere on the Coast," Ferrucci said, and the current 24 spots will expand to 38 by the end of January.

"We are the first casino on the Coast since the storm to bring back live keno," he said. The keno parlor will open behind the poker room by Jan. 6, when someone will win the million dollars on display in the Silver Slipper Casino. This isn't just a chance someone could win, he said. "This is absolutely, positively going to happen."

Also around the first of the year, repairing and repaving the roads leading to the casino could begin on both U.S. 90 to the beach and on Beach Boulevard.

Ferrucci said customers keep coming back because they have a good experience, great restaurants and live entertainment at least every weekend. He said Silver Slipper takes care of its staff so they in turn keep the customers happy. Every employee received a bonus the past three consecutive quarters and because housing continues to be a challenge, "Our company is working on building 50 single-family homes," Ferrucci said, and employees will have the first option to purchase them.

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