Saratoga Takes Over Operations At Magnolia Bluffs Casino Hotel

Written By Derek Helling on October 4, 2022
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There’s new management on the grounds of one of the several Mississippi casinos and to date, there’s little information about how that could change things for patrons, if at all.

Outside of the appointment of a new general manager for the Magnolia Bluffs Casino Hotel in Natchez, the new owner of the property hasn’t shared many details.

For Saratoga Casino Holdings, LLC, this marks the first entry into Mississippi. That represents a further diversification of the company’s portfolio in a jurisdiction with some regulatory differences from its other locations.

Saratoga buys into the Mississippi casinos game

Saratoga Casino Holdings, LLC announced it has completed its acquisition of the Magnolia Bluffs Casino Hotel on Monday. The company now operates three casinos in the same number of disparate states. The other two properties it runs are:

  • Saratoga Casino Black Hawk in Black Hawk, Colorado
  • Saratoga Casino Hotel in Saratoga Springs, New York

The Magnolia Bluffs Casino Hotel website says it offers more than 500 slot machines, 14 gaming tables, and a dedicated poker room. Amenities for guests on-site include the hotel and dining options. Saratoga says that Tim Morrissey, who has previously served as the GM at Saratoga Black Hawk, will take over those same duties at the Magnolia Bluffs.

The Magnolia Bluffs also offers patrons a retail Playmakers Sportsbook, which touches on one of the regulatory differences between Colorado, Mississippi, and New York.

Mississippi’s unique framework for sports betting

In Mississippi, all licensed casinos can offer in-person wagering on sporting events at their properties. Online sports betting, however, is somewhat of a different animal. Technically, it is legal in Mississippi, but only in small pockets of the state.

According to Mississippi law, bettors must be on the appropriate casino grounds to place legal wagers on sports, even online. For that reason, only two Mississippi casinos have enabled the option for bettors so far. Those are the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi and the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica. Both of those casinos partner with BetMGM.

It’s unclear if this change in ownership will lead to the Magnolia Bluffs also offering online sports betting. Saratoga has a partnership with Betfred for its sports betting in Colorado. However, the regulatory landscape is very different in Colorado.

In Colorado, licensed online sportsbooks can accept wagers anywhere in the state. Betfred has a competitive online product. However, to date, there is no indication that Saratoga would expand that partnership to include its new Mississippi property.

In New York, there are two completely different systems for in-person and online sports betting. Retail wagering similarly runs through New York’s commercial and tribal casinos. However, the state of New York contracts directly with online sports betting providers for bets on the internet.

Another element of Magnolia Bluffs’ operations that frequent guests might be curious about is the casino’s rewards program.

Could this change affect players’ rewards accounts?

At Saratoga’s property in New York, the casino offers a Saratoga Club through which players can earn rewards. The Black Hawk property boasts a different program, the Player Extras Club. That seems to suggest Saratoga will simply allow the rewards program at Magnolia Bluffs, the Players Club, to proceed unfettered.

However, players should be aware that their rewards will likely only be accessible at each specific location as opposed to transferring across all Saratoga properties. Again, Saratoga has not announced any changes to any rewards programs at this time.

What’s certain is that the Magnolia Bluffs Casino is under new management. Many of the elements of the casino could remain mostly unchanged to the public, though.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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