The Universal Music Group (UMG) is recognized as the biggest music company in the world. It is now looking to make its presence felt in the casino industry. As part of a joint venture with Dakia U-Ventures, plans are underway for $1.2 billion hotel and casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Dakia U-Ventures is a Miami-based investment group. The casino project is part of the new UMUSIC Hotel chain. Other cities include Atlanta and Orlando. The Biloxi location is the only one with a casino included in the plans.
This would be the first casino resort that is partially owned by a global music corporation. One of the main goals of the plan is to build a “music-based experimental hotel.” This was the phrase used in a recent joint statement from the developers.
The location in Biloxi would compete directly with the existing Hard Rock Casino. Going against the biggest music company in the industry, Hard Rock would be at a distinct competitive advantage. UMG owns numerous record labels including EMI, Capital Records, Decca and Def Jam.
That means it also owns the rights to some of the bestselling musical acts in today’s marketplace. This could make it extremely difficult for Hard Rock when it comes to booking live entertainment.
Bruce Resnikoff is the president and CEO of Universal Music Enterprises. His vision for UMUSIC Hotels centers on host cities with “rich music heritages.” The hotels would be designed to “provide new opportunities for artists to reach fans in immersive, innovative and authentic ways.”
The plans for the Biloxi property center on the site of the former Broadwater Beach Hotel. There was also a marina and golf course before everything was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The resort dates back to 1939. It operated as an illegal gambling establishment back in the day.
While the gambling came to an end in the 1950’s, this was considered to be one of the most glamourous resort destinations in the Gulf Coast region.
Casino gambling in Mississippi was legalized in the early 1990’s. At the time, President Casinos added riverboat gambling at this site. That company went on to declare bankruptcy in 2002. The casino was acquired by developers shortly before Katrina destroyed much of that area.
This past June, the Biloxi City Council approved a plan to revitalize the area. This included a tourism tax incentive covering the redevelopment of this piece of land. The entire plot covers 266 acres.
This would be the biggest casino project ever in South Mississippi. The estimated cost of the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino was close to $800 million when it was built in 1999. A $1 billion price tag to build the Tivoli Casino in Biloxi never materialized.
Biloxi became a choice location because of its musical heritage and the ability to also enter the casino gambling market. While the joint venture did submit preliminary plans a few months back, the Mississippi Gaming Commission is still waiting for a formal proposal.
Part of those preliminary plans included an artist rendering of the proposed hotel and casino.