Victory Casino Cruises Coming to Jacksonville Mid-June 2014
Written by Jensen Werley Reporter - Jacksonville Business Journal - Check out full article here
Based upon the success he's seen in Central Florida, the owner of casino ship coming to Jacksonville is betting local residents will go all in at the floating gaming establishment.
The Victory II, which will be setting sail from Mayport in mid-June, features a variety of gaming options, food, beverages and entertainment.
Lester Bullock, CEO of Victory Casino Cruises, said the quality of his product is what sets his ships apart from past ships, which weren't able to stay in the market.
"We're delivering a better product," he said. "It's not just gaming, it's an entertainment experience."
Bullock, who also has a ship in Cape Canaveral, said his crew modifies the entertainment to woo the clientele on the boat at any given time. He said during the day, when the crowd tends to be senior citizens, there will be live bands playing oldies.
At night, when the crowd is younger, the ship will have a fully-functioning nightclub on the top deck. He also expects high-quality, fresh food and drinks to be part of the experience.
"There are a lot of moving parts," said Bullock, who is putting the finishing touches on the ship, ticket area and dock, which will have a Key West aesthetic, making the entire area surrounding the ship "quaint and cute."
Bullock said he believes in his ship's ability to not only be successful, but to significantly influence Jacksonville's economy.
"Our direct impact is $10 to 12 million, but I'd say it's worth $30 to 40 million to the economy," Bullock said.
He said he expects to hire between 200 to 250 employees for the Jacksonville-based ship, which is 229 feet long, will service about 600 passengers and will have three decks.
Victory Casino Cruises has a 10-year agreement to dock at its Mayport slip.
"Mayport is a sleepy gem," he said. "I don't know if the locals want it woken up, but it is a gem."
While Florida has attempted to legalize more land-based gambling in the past, Bullock said he is not overly concerned. Right now, he said Jacksonville, northeast Florida and south Georgia is lacking gambling opportunities, and his ship will fill that void.
"If it works in Canaveral, I know it can work here," he said. "We really figured it out."