CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Related Links
Recent Articles
Best of Madeliene Bizub

Gaming Guru

 

Gulf Coast Confidential: Bad Attitude at Beau Rivage

29 August 1999

Hung with the unfortunate moniker "Redneck Riviera", Biloxi was a declining middle-class beach resort, her glory days apparently in the past, when gaming came to town and provided a facelift and an economic boom. With the casinos as backdrop and a huge magnet for an influx of tourists, Biloxi has blossomed again. The beaches are full of sunbathers, the delightful restaurants are serving up scrumptious meals, the beachfront antebellum homes have new coats of paint, and artists of every description can be found in eclectic shops along the Gulf Coast. When I heard that Mirage Resorts was building a big resort there, I knew that Biloxi was a serious gaming destination, indeed. I have visited and played in all of the casinos there, many times, and have been most impressed with the quality of the casino/hotels, the playing conditions, the entertainment and shopping, and, most certainly, the friendly atmosphere in virtually every type of establishment I entered in the area in and around Biloxi. I well remember visiting friends stationed at the Air Force base there in the 1980s, and Biloxi was not a place I would have recommended for fun in the sun. Things have changed. . . and how!

In the few months that preceded the much heralded opening of Beau Rivage, Atlanta television and newspapers were bombarding us with ads about this new resort. In one popular commercial, the Beau was pictured rising out of the mist like the answer to Scarlett O'Hara's dreams, with a voiceover by none other than Elizabeth Taylor with an affected Southern accent that gave new meaning to "stereotype".

Beau is offering a "Southern plantation" theme as its claim to fame. This in a state with real Southern plantations restored to their early magnificence. And though they are beautiful structures, they have a history that is shameful to most modern Southerners.

I received a glossy magazine type "invitation" to the Beau, which was likely a result of having a player's card from another Mirage Resorts property. The thing that I found most interesting about all these advertisements was the distinct absence of any mention of the sordid word "gambling" or even the euphemistic term "gaming". Just waxing philosophical about the beautiful beach, luxurious rooms, world class restaurants, and, of course, "Southern Hospitality". "Anyone with a lick of sense," as my darling mother used to say, knew that the casino was the big draw at the Beau Rivage, so why all the secrecy about gambling? Was someone concerned about upsetting our delicate Southern sensibilities by being so bold as to suggest we might want a good gamble in between eating, shopping, and golfing? I was curious, to say the least, but not so much that I had to be there for the big opening, but I would most certainly go on my next visit to Biloxi and see what all the excitement was about.

Beau Rivage, roughly translated, means "beautiful river", but after three visits there in the last five months, it sounds more like "trouble in river city" to me. Though it is indeed a gorgeous resort--the classiest casino Mississippi has seen--it offers little else for my gaming dollar. The parking deck is cavernous, with odd twists and turns and virtually no security patrolling that I have noticed. It's a long walk to the casino entrance, but the streets are paved with gold--pricey gifts shops, that is--staffed with haughty sales clerks who barely acknowledge your presence, let alone ask if they can help you. The restaurants have a terrifically long wait time--even the buffet, which was only mediocre when compared to the many fine restaurants in the other Gulf resorts.

Beau Rivage has already closed the poker room, after boasting they were going to put the Grand poker rooms out of business. There are ample table games in the 90,000 square foot casino they were so quiet about having, but on the weekends the table minimums are all $10 and up. (The rest of the Gulf Coast casinos offer plenty of $5 minimum games.) I saw Blackjack games with $15 minimums and none less; dealers stand on all 17s; double down on any first two cards; and resplitting aces up to four times. There were a few double-deck games, but penetration appeared to be about 50% at best. The majority of BJ is multiple-deck shoes, with Shufflemaster on hand to keep those DPHs high.

Though the dealers appear efficient, they lack that style and friendliness I have come to expect in Mississippi casinos. The few times I have played there, the dealers could fairly be described as surly. When I bought-in at one of the craps tables and turned in my player's card, the pit boss returned it to me by flipping it across the table at me, instead of coming around and handing it to me, with "good luck" and such as that, which is the usual treatment I have encountered elsewhere. I started feeling like a chump, and it wasn't a pleasant experience, in spite of the beautiful surroundings. The message seemed clear enough to me that if you wanted to play at the Beau Rivage, you were going to pay dearly for the experience, and no one was going to be too nice about it, either. Of course, that is only my opinion, though I do fit the profile the Beau advertising seemed to be targeting. . . namely, a middle class, middle-aged Southern resident who frequents gaming resorts and has some entertainment dollars she are willing to spend on gambling, dining and shows.

I doubt I'll return. I believe in the old "three strikes and you're out" philosophy. I think I'll just go down the street to the Grand, or Magic, even the little New Palace, where I get a reasonably fair game, minimums of $3-$5, entertaining crews, decent restaurants, fair comps and a welcome like a distant relative at a family reunion. The other casinos on the coast seem to recognize that true "Southern hospitality" has little to do with your surroundings and the size of your bankroll.

Remember, dear reader, you heard it here first...off the record...on the QT...and very hush-hush...they do have gambling at Beau Rivage...a BIG gamble.

Madeliene Bizub
Madeliene Bizub is a craps aficionado and an experienced gambler who is making
quite a name for herself in craps circles. She contributes to many internet
gaming sites and her opinions are well respected.
Madeliene Bizub
Madeliene Bizub is a craps aficionado and an experienced gambler who is making
quite a name for herself in craps circles. She contributes to many internet
gaming sites and her opinions are well respected.