Margaritaville passes final hurdle, opens for good on Saturday

EXCLUSIVE: A look inside the Margaritaville Casino
Stilt walkers mingle with visitors during a "sneak peek" of the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City Thursday.
Stilt walkers mingle with visitors during a "sneak peek" of the Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City Thursday.

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - After a trial run on Thursday, the new Margaritaville Resort and Casino officially opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Word came Friday evening that the new Bossier City attraction passed a final phase of inspections that was the final hurdle before operations could continue for good starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Hundreds of people visited Margaritaville during its "Sneak Peek" open house event.

"This is what we've been waiting for -- the chance to show this property off to all the residents of Shreveport, Bossier City and East Texas, and we are so pleased with the reaction we are receiving from everyone in the community," General Manager Barry Regula said on Thursday.

Regula said Margaritaville's business model gives him confidence that the $205 million investment will succeed.

"It's really delivered something new and exciting and fresh that is going to attract people and attract people not just locally, but people from East Texas that haven't been back here in a while."

The casino and hotel resort is expected to bring more than 1,200 jobs to Bossier Parish. They began accepting job applications in January 2013, and taking hotel reservations in April.

The casino is all on one level, spread across 30,000 square feet. There are around 1,300 slot machines and 54 table games. It also features a 400-room hotel and three restaurants. The Paradise Theater seats 900.

Hundreds of workers have already been hired, and more could be added.

At least $4 million has been spent updating the traffic design near the Louisiana Boardwalk leading in and out of the casino. It was already a high-traffic area. The City of Bossier hired an outside engineering company to research that challenge of keeping traffic flowing smoothly there.

The casino will have 3 entrances and exits, including one added off of Colquitt Avenue, north of Highway 80. Roads were widened elsewhere, and turn lanes were added. Two 2 roundabouts were also added on the property between the boardwalk and the casino, which technically belongs to the city.

The casino has also added 1,400 parking spaces, which are in addition to the ones right beside Bass Pro Shops.

Bossier City police say they will have 15 extra officers around the new casino and the boardwalk for the grand opening expected Saturday.

Copyright 2013 KSLA. All rights reserved.