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Vicksburg Casino Closes

VICKSBURG (AP) — The closing of Vicksburg's Grand Station Casino has left 230 employees without jobs.

The Vicksburg Post reported casino officials began escorting employees from the casino about 11 a.m. Wednesday and security guards turned prospective gamblers away.

Restaurants also were shut down. Grand Station general manager Anthony Collins said about 40 players were in the casino when the closing was announced.

While the restaurants were in the hotel, casino marketing director Mickey Fedell said the food service employees were casino employees. He said the hotel's new owners are negotiating with Delta Investments and Development, the owner of Grand Station Casino, to acquire and reopen the restaurants by getting the food service employees transferred to the hotel's payroll.

Fedel said Thursday that Huck's Hideaway, a sport bar, was reopening and would remain open as talks continued on the other restaurants.

"We hope eventually to have them all reopened," he said.

Mark Starkweather, the attorney for Kenneth W. Bickford, president of Chappapeela Development Corp., and other investors, said the sale of the Grant Station hotel was completed in January. He said the hotel is full and has rooms booked through early January.

He said Bickford is interested in acquiring the casino, but would not discuss details.

The closing came three days after Bally's Gaming Inc. canceled a foreclosure sale of the casino in an attempt to settle a $3 million debt it says Delta owes.

Bally's filed for foreclosure Feb. 29 and filed a suit on March 2 in U.S. District Court in Jackson to recover the money. A new foreclosure sale is set for April 17 on the Warren County Courthouse steps.

Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield said the casino's closing could cost the city more than $500,000.

Under an agreement Delta inherited from Tropicana Entertainment when it bought the casino in 2011, the city was to receive $562,940 a year plus 1.5 percent of the casino's net revenues until Oct. 13, 2033, for 2.95 acres of the public boat launch area at City Front.

He said city officials will do whatever they can to encourage investors to buy the casino.

The mayor said any negotiations involving the casino must include the city, adding, "We certainly want to protect our interests and the interests of the taxpayers.