Isle of Capri revisiting plans for Miss. properties

The Isle of Capri is reevaluating its

expansion plans in Biloxi and for its proposed Pine Hills Casino in

western Harrison County, said chief operating officer Virginia

McDowell.

McDowell said Friday that the company is beginning to develop

new master plans for the land it owns in Biloxi and for Pine Hills,

just off Interstate 10 in Harrison County.

"We want to develop and implement a master plan for the

company's Biloxi property," McDowell said, "which will help

ensure that our product will remain competitive in the market."

McDowell said it isn't the cost of insurance but the competitive

landscape and new management in Biloxi that prompted the Isle to

review the expansion plans. Much of the $435 million the company

plans to spend on capital projects for the fiscal year is tied to

rebuilding the Biloxi casino and moving forward with the West

Harrison project, she said.

Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. reported a 1.7 percent increase in

net revenues Thursday, to $278.5 million for the first quarter of

its fiscal year, from $274 million for the same period last year.

Last month, McDowell succeeded Timothy Hinkley as COO, She said

she has visited each of the Isle properties in the U.S. She came to

the company's first casino, the Isle of Capri Biloxi, for its 15th

anniversary celebration in August.

The company's three Mississippi casinos earned 20.1 percent of

its net revenue in the first fiscal quarter, which was down from

24.3 percent in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

Bob Griffin, senior vice president of operations, said the Isle

is having to spend more in the aggressive Biloxi market to

advertise the casino, which is temporarily at the end of a

cul-de-sac on U.S. Highway 90. He said that expense could change

once the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge reopens.