Mississippi casino closes abruptly pending foreclosure

Vicksburg's Grand Station Casino was abruptly shuttered Wednesday, leaving 230 employees without jobs.

Casino officials began escorting employees from the riverfront casino about 11 a.m. Wednesday and security guards turned prospective gamblers away. Grand Station general manager Anthony Collins said about 40 players were in the casino.

The closing came three days after Bally's Gaming Inc. canceled a foreclosure sale in an attempt to settle a $3 million debt it says owner Delta Investments and Development owes for equipment and remodeling loans.

Mark Starkweather, the attorney for Kenneth W. Bickford, president of Chappapeela Development Corp., and other investors, said the sale of the attached Grand Station hotel to that company was completed in January. He said Bickford is interested in acquiring the casino.

Bally's filed for foreclosure Feb. 29 and filed a suit on March 2 in U.S. District Court in Jackson to recover the money. A second foreclosure sale is set for April 17.

Harrah's opened the casino in 1993 and sold it in 2003 to Kentucky-based Columbia Sussex, which renamed it Horizon. Tropicana Entertainment, which had been part of Columbia Sussex, took over operations and, in 2007 it was sold to Nevada Gold and Casinos for about $35 million, but that deal fell through a year later.

In 2010, Delta bought the hotel and casino for $3.25 million in cash plus liabilities.