MISS. CASINO EYES FAMILIES

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In an effort to lift sagging gaming revenue, Treasure Bay Casino has become the first casino in Mississippi to renovate an entire floor and provide non-gambling entertainment for families.

Treasure Bay removed all slot machines and poker tables from the second floor and is replacing them with virtual reality games, interactive videos, videogames, a kids' snack bar and a childcare center.

The casino wants to attract more families.

"The goal is to provide complete family entertainment," said Treasure Bay President Virginia Perkins.

Mississippi law allows those under 21 years old inside the casino and even on the gaming floor. But Ms. Perkins said her casino doesn't even allow them near the gamblers.

"We are doing this because our market and revenues are reduced from what we anticipated," she said. "We took out 650 slots and concentrated them on the first floor."

The casino, which opened in May and is designed to look like an 18th century Caribbean pirate ship, has 1,100 slot machines. Treasure Bay is one of a cluster of casinos on the Mississippi River in Tunica County (AA, July 18).

Ms. Perkins wouldn't speculate about what the project is costing Treasure Bay, but did say she doesn't anticipate a loss of gaming revenue.

She said the second floor will be marketed through the casino's regular advertising channels of print and TV. Treasure Bay creates advertising in-house. A party may be held in January, when the floor is scheduled to be finished.

"We have selected the latest and most popular arcade games in the country," she said, adding that the childcare center is being leased out to a national childcare company.

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