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Business as usual for most Coast casinos

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BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos remained open for the most part during this week's wintry weather.

Several pared down staff to essential employees and allowed them to stay in the casino hotels. The casinos also kept their doors open for out-of-town guests unable to travel.

Boomtown was the only casino to close Tuesday night and does not have an adjoining hotel. It reopened early Wednesday.

Beau Rivage Resort spokeswoman Mary Cracchiolo-Spain told The Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/1lnBlm9 ) that the casino had asked all non-essential employees to stay home Tuesday and Wednesday; essential employees were housed in the hotel as a precaution.

The Beau Rivage's night club, golf course, BR Prime, the medical analysis building and the loading docks were closed, but the gambling floor was open. A beer-tasting event with the Southern Brewers Club was also cancelled.

"We're just trying to take precautions by putting safety first," Cracchiolo-Spain said.

Cracchiolo-Spain said the casino is "basically at full operations" outside of the aforementioned closures.

It's been business as usual at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, according to spokesman Ali Odom.

The Silver Slipper in Bay St. Louis closed its buffet and table games overnight but the slots are clanging, said CEO John Ferrucci. Slot play is down, though, he said.

"A lot of our clientele and employees live near the area," Ferrucci said. "We welcome the opportunity to serve guests but we certainly don't want people to come out if the drive for them is too hazardous."

Doug Shipley, president and CEO of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant, said they also went down to minimum staff Wednesday.

"We went down to bare minimum staff," he said. "We closed our restaurants a little earlier than expected so folks could get home to their families."

All 12 casinos remained open through Wednesday night.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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