Second casino boat, new jobs headed to Little River

The Big M Casino boat cruises off Little River in August 2014.
The Big M Casino boat cruises off Little River in August 2014. MyrtleBeachOnline.com file photo

The Big M Casino is bringing one of its ships from Fort Myers, Fla., this summer to join its current ship off the Little River shoreline and keep its commitment to Horry County.

Big M bought the defunct SunCruz Casino late last summer after SunCruz’ July 28 closing, and Horry County Council agreed to a settlement to recoup $484,272 of the $700,000 SunCruz owed the county in boarding fees.

In February 2008, Horry County passed an ordinance that required casino boats to pay $7 per passenger as a boarding fee.

With only one boat in operation since last summer, this additional Big M boat, which will open July 2, will bring revenue to the county back up to the last time the county collected from two boats.

The second boat will provide additional casino trips through the fall.

A spokesman for Big M Casino could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

A job fair is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday at 4495 Mineola Drive, Little River. On-site interviewing, hiring and processing will take place.

Late last year, Horry County Council voted to maintain the $7-per-passenger fee it collects from Big M Gaming for about seven more years after the lone casino boat operator in the county announced a “substantial financial investment” will be made in the future. Council voted to approve the extension of the boarding fee agreement from its current expiration in February 2018 to early 2025.

At the time, Arrigo Carotti, attorney for Horry County, said Big M wanted the extension before it made a “substantial financial investment” with the former SunCruz casino boat it acquired last year.

Lisa Bourcier, spokeswoman for the county, said the county considers “the operation of a second vessel” as the substantial financial investment.

Contact JASON M. RODRIGUEZ at 626-0301 or on Twitter @TSN_JRodriguez.