6 Play for 2 Mississippi Casinos

Gaming Centers Expect an Ala., La. or In-state Winner in 2 Weeks
NEW ORLEANS–A Mississippi Coast casino operator is hearing presentations this week by a half-dozen agencies hailing from three Southern states for its $3.1 million advertising account.
Casino Magic Corp., headquartered in Bay St. Louis, Miss., invited six agencies from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to pitch the advertising account of its gaming properties in Bay St. Louis and Biloxi, Miss.
Since early 1997, the account has been held by Zimmerman, Laurent & Richardson in Des Moines, Iowa, which is defending. Casino Magic was recently purchased by Hollywood Park of Inglewood, Calif.
Casino Magic operates a third gaming site in Bossier City, La. The company’s two Mississippi Coast locations, however, will face new competition next year from properties that will rank among the largest casino resorts in the South.
Next spring Mirage’s Beau Rivage resort in Biloxi is scheduled to open its $650 million casino complex. In fall 1999, Harrah’s Entertainment plans to open its $800 million land-based casino in New Orleans. Neither of those gaming centers has named an advertising agency of record.
Casino Magic last May opened a hotel at its Biloxi locale. The company has plans for a second hotel next year at its Bay St. Louis property.
“At some point next year, we probably will be expanding our market to reach to Dallas and Houston and Atlanta,” said Lisa Weaver, advertising director at Casino Magic Bay St. Louis. “But right now we want to get an agency on board.”
Weaver said the winning agency will be awarded a one-year contract that is renewable annually for up to three years. The media mix will include print, television, radio and outdoor.
Invited agencies had until last Tuesday to reply to the client’s request for proposals and submit a speculative creative project. Presentations are scheduled for early this week. Weaver said a final agency decision is expected within two weeks.
Agencies were told to demonstrate diverse capabilities in advertising, direct marketing, interactive marketing and promotions during the presentations.