Peter R. LaFemina, Investor Relations
Phoenix Leisure Unveils Plans For New Gulf Coast Gaming Resort
Company officials present project update to Hancock County’s Board of Supervisors
LAS VEGAS, Nevada, July 21, 1999 – Officers and directors of Phoenix Leisure Corporation (VSE: PLS), today presented the Company’s development plans for its gaming resort to the Hancock County Board of Supervisors. "With some critical corporate reorganization issues behind us, we are now completely focused on developing a first-class facility at this great location," said Deborah Hawkins, Phoenix Leisure’s Chief Financial Officer. Gene McCarlie and Craig Thomas, directors, also represented the Company during the presentation held in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
Ms. Hawkins outlined Phoenix Leisure’s plans for an investment of up to $30 million for its gaming resort development to be located along Bayou Caddy on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. The Company intends to construct an attractively themed, "island paradise" resort with approximately 200 guestrooms and suites. The hotel will include café dining and a specialty restaurant featuring fresh Gulf catches from the neighboring shrimp boats. The resort will build upon its natural beachfront location to craft a tropical setting for its pool area with an entertainment "party patio" for live music, events and concerts. "The resort site represents one of the most pristine, ecologically diverse areas of natural beauty remaining along the Gulf Coast," said Hawkins. "One of our goals is to respect the environmental balance of the surrounding beach, bayou and wetlands by building a facility that complements this natural setting."
The casino will be built within a permanently moored gaming vessel which was purchased by Phoenix Leisure in June 1999 from Park Place Entertainment Corporation. The vessel includes approximately 23,000 square feet of gaming space and will be configured with roughly 750 slot machines and 25 table games. In a previous news release, Phoenix Leisure announced that its gaming vessel, the former Northern Belle, left the port of Windsor, Ontario on July 17 for its six-week journey to its new home in Bayou Caddy. Modifications will be made to the vessel after its arrival in Mississippi to enhance its finishings. The vessel will be located adjacent to the hotel, and a concrete pier, moorings and other infrastructure improvements are already in place. "We’re aiming to be the place where you feel the most comfortable, as if you were home with good friends; a place where you can relax and just ‘flat out’ have fun served by the friendliest staff in the South. This is the first and highest mission in our operating strategy," explained Ms. Hawkins.
Gene McCarlie and Cliff McCarlie, project manager, are residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and were instrumental in the Company’s site assessment. Following the legalization of dockside gaming in 1992, Mississippi is now the third highest grossing gaming state in the nation. The Gulf Coast market experienced a 13% increase in gaming revenue in the first quarter of 1999 as compared to the same period last year. Market growth has been generally attributed to increases in hotel room supply, the diversification of entertainment and recreational amenities supporting the casinos, the region’s mild climate and infrastructure improvements which have facilitated access to the region. Gene McCarlie further noted, "The neighboring bedroom communities along the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and around Slidell represent the fastest growing region of Louisiana and is within a half-hour drive of our site. Our location will be an attractive getaway for these leisure travelers who currently endure up to a two-hour drive to reach casinos in Biloxi and Gulfport." Cliff McCarlie also noted that almost two-thirds of the current visitors to Hancock County are residents of Louisiana and that Buccaneer State Park, located immediately to the east of Phoenix Leisure’s site, enjoys almost a half million visitors annually.
The Company expects to employ approximately 900 people in management, internal support and customer service positions once it is open for business. The Company intends to offer competitive wages and benefits in order to draw many workers residing in Hancock County and St. Tammany Parish who currently work in Biloxi and want to be closer to home. Ms. Hawkins estimates that Phoenix Leisure’s gaming resort will contribute over $5 million annually in gaming taxes and license fees to the state and county governments. Pending the license and regulatory approval stages, Phoenix would begin construction in the fall of 1999 for an anticipated opening by the end of the fourth quarter of 2000. Phoenix Leisure’s Notice of Intent to apply for a gaming license, filed with the Mississippi Gaming Commission, was approved on July 13. The Company must now submit its site development plans to various federal, state and local agencies for approval and present its officers, directors and major shareholders for investigative background checks in order to be approved for a gaming license. The Company is also in the process of procuring financing commitments with commercial lenders to fund the hotel construction.
Headquartered in Las Vegas, Phoenix Leisure Corporation is an emerging developer and operator of niche opportunities in the gaming, hospitality and entertainment industry. Phoenix Leisure Corporation’s Chairman of the Board and President, Eric L. Nelson previously developed dockside gaming facilities in Greenville and Tunica, Mississippi. The company’s stock is publicly traded on the Vancouver Stock Exchange under the symbol "PLS".
Statements in this release which are not historical facts are "forward
looking" statements and "safe harbor statements" under the U.S. Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve risks and/or uncertainties,
including risks and/or uncertainties as described in the Company’s public
filings with the Canadian Securities Administrator’s SEDAR® database
and the Vancouver Stock Exchange.
The Vancouver Stock Exchange has not reviewed this news release and
does not accept responsibility for its accuracy.
PLS Press Release