- Associated Press - Monday, October 12, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The company that has run Vicksburg’s DiamondJacks casino since it came out of bankruptcy in 2013 will buy it.

Gulfport-based Foundation Gaming Group made the announcement Monday. The gambling facility opened in 1993 as Isle of Capri and was Vicksburg’s first casino. Legends Gaming bought it in 2006, later declaring bankruptcy twice.

No price was disclosed. Mississippi’s Gaming Commission is scheduled to vote on approving the sale Thursday.

Foundation Chief Operations & Marketing Officer Les McMackin said the company will borrow to buy the casino from its current owners, who were creditors in Legends’ second bankruptcy. Faced with recovering little of the $300 million that Legends owed if they liquidated the two casinos after a potential buyer walked away, creditors chose to keep operating them.

McMackin said the Vicksburg gambling hall, with more than 300 employees, will continue operating as DiamondJacks.

“We’re still formulating long-term plans,” McMackin said. He said the company could have more to say by the end of the week.

Foundation said it will continue to run the larger DiamondJacks in Bossier City, Louisiana, under contract with the current owners.

“It’s business as usual there,” McMackin said. “Nothing has changed.”

The Bossier City casino typically collects the least revenue of the six full-fledged casinos in northwest Louisiana.

Foundation is led by veterans of Isle of Capri, which also was the first owner of the Bossier City casino, opening it in 1994. This will be the first time that Foundation has owned a casino, though. Besides the two DiamondJacks casinos, Foundation managed the Resorts Casino and Hotel and Bally’s Casino and Hotel in Mississippi’s Tunica County for two years after creditors foreclosed upon them in 2011.

Vicksburg is Mississippi’s third-largest casino market. Although gambling revenues in Mississippi’s Gulf Coast market are growing again, Magnolia State casinos along the Mississippi River have continued to see gambling revenue shrink, with gambling halls in Vicksburg and Tunica closing in recent years. A Natchez casino is scheduled to close this month, which would cut casinos along the river to 16.

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Follow Jeff Amy at: https://twitter.com/jeffamy

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