Big Easy, Formerly Mardi Gras, Fully Reopened
Hurricane Irma walloped the former Mardi Gras Casino, now called the Big Easy, in Hallandale Beach, Florida last September 10. Manager Dan Adkins said, “This place was destroyed.” But the poker room reopened in December and slots were up and running again on May 14. Adkins said 512 slots are in operation now and another 300 are coming soon. Also the smokers’ patio has reopened with 18 slots, and an expansion including 90 machines and a bar is planned.
“Players keep calling, asking us when they can see what we’ve done. They are going to be very happy with the results,” Adkins said. He noted simulcast wagering relocated to its pre-hurricane spot and the first floor has a new ceiling and carpeting.
Adkins said, “The employees saved this building. We had employees working round-the-clock with pumps, brooms and shovels. We had a waterfall in here.” A small group of employees remained while the property was closed but many had to be let go. Now, Adkins said, as business picks up, jobs are being refilled.
Meanwhile, the property, owned by Hartman and Tyner, Inc., was purchased by Jeffrey Soffer, owner of the Fontainebleau Resort and the Aventura Mall. Soffer said he will redevelop the Big Easy or possibly get permission from the Florida Legislature to move the license and operate a casino elsewhere in South Florida.
Adkins, who first worked at the property in 1981, stayed on to manage the casino. He said he’s hopeful voters in the November election will pass an amendment banning dog racing in the state. “If so, we could use that space for redevelopment,” Adkins said.