Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort

Scarlet Pearl 1

Scarlet Pearl thrives with its employees' 'passion' for service.

By Alan Dorich, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

When customers visit Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, they are treated like family. “We tend to hug and kiss everyone here,” CEO LuAnn Pappas says. “We are unique because of that family environment. [We are] like ‘Cheers,’ where everybody knows your name.”

Located in D’lberville, Miss., Scarlet Pearl features 300 hotel rooms and 68,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 1,200 slot machines and over 32 table games. The resort also offers its guests amenities such as its outdoor Garden Oasis Pool and its Lava Links Golf Club.

Scarlet Pearl spent nearly $3 million on the club, which features two 18-hole courses surrounded by gardens, waterfalls, foot bridges and an erupting volcano. “We’re able to touch you in a unique and different way than others can,” Pappas says.

Scarlet Pearl infoShe also highlights its restaurants and cafés, which include its Waterfront Buffet, which specializes in Italian, Chinese, comfort food and seafood selections while offering views of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Its Scarlet’s Steak & Seafood also provides dining in an atmosphere with contemporary and traditional furnishings.

Scarlet Pearl also has a showroom where it has presented such acts as “Thunder Down Under” as well as “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding,” along with magic and tribute shows. “We’re in the unique position that we can try just about anything,” Pappas says.

Although the resort has a modest size compared to some of its competitors, this serves an advantage for Scarlet Pearl. “It allows us to have speed to the market,” Pappas says. “We can talk about something at noon and at 12:15, we have a decision.”

Something New

Pappas has been in the casino business since 1985. “Thirty of the last 33 years was spent with Caesars Entertainment,” she says, noting that her work also has taken her to Atlantic City, N.J., and Louisiana.

She joined Scarlet Pearl in November 2015. “I’ve called it home ever since,” Pappas says, noting that the resort has evolved into a brand. “Our tagline is ‘The New Way,’ because every year we’re adding something new.”

Last year, the resort opened up an 800-space parking garage, and this fall, it plans to add a sports book, thanks to the state’s recent legalization of casino sports betting. “It opens up a whole another opportunity for a revenue channel,” she says.

Pappas praises Scarlet Pearl’s family ownership, which has helped thrive despite a lack of experience in the casino industry. “We have built a very successful business to the shock of many,” Pappas says. “It’s an anomaly in this business.”

Pearl Passion

Scarlet Pearl caters to avid, experienced gamers who are well versed in the types of gaming it offers, Pappas says. “If you were to talk to any of our customers, they would say, ‘It’s an elegant property with a Southern hospitality feel,’” she says.

But Scarlet Pearl has had to find unique people to provide its guests with that feel. Although several of its managers have experience in gaming, that expertise is not a requirement for all of its associates.

“You don’t necessarily have to have a background in a particular discipline,” she asserts. “We’re more open to you if you demonstrate a passion to learn the business.”

Scarlet Pearl also looks for enthusiasm when recruiting, Pappas adds. “The most important part for us is you’ve got be engaging, friendly, animated and want to be part of a small, intimate property,” she says.

This is particularly true when it comes to its employees’ interactions with customers. “We hug, we kiss and we know everyone, including the names of their dogs and cats,” Pappas says.

She takes pride in her current team at Scarlet Pearl. “There is a passion in the associates that are here that I have not felt in my 30 years before coming here,” she says, noting that this has paid off for the resort.

Scarlet Pearl 2“We have a tremendous amount of repeat business,” she reports. “The majority of our revenue comes from very local, highly frequent customers.”

The resort has helped nurture that passion by creating an open environment where any member of its staff can contribute ideas or input. “Anyone may say anything at any time,” Pappas says. “That’s our motto and it’s truly like a family.” The resort also encourages its employees to expand their knowledge through continuing education programs. Thanks to a $20,000 grant from the state, “We have three associates going for their Masters degrees,” Pappas says. “We pay for that 100 percent.”

She notes Scarlet Pearl’s owners have personally driven these initiatives. “They’re very committed to the development of talent, to furthering education and health,” Pappas says.

Helping Hands

Scarlet Pearl’s owners also focused strongly on charitable initiatives as well, which have included donating to hurricane relief funds. While some resorts do this for attention, “We do that because it’s our culture,” Pappas asserts.

“It’s right thing to do,” she continues. “Many people will go out with a press release, but we believe humility is best.”

Scarlet Pearl also has partnered with Habitat for Humanity, The American Red Cross and the Susan G. Komen organization. Throughout the month of October, the resort turns its property and table game felt pink to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

With the resort’s plan to bring a medical clinic on property, “We’re committed to healthy living,” Pappas adds, noting that Scarlet Pearl has partnered with local gyms as well.

Exciting Times

It is an exciting time for Scarlet Pearl to be in business, Pappas says. In addition to Mississippi legalizing casino sports betting, it also passed legislation for a state lottery.

Previously, Mississippi residents had to go to surrounding states to participate in lotteries. “When all the approvals are are in, we’ll have a lottery machine,” she reports.

She also sees more opportunities ahead for Scarlet Pearl, particularly with the recent passage of a bill that would bring the bulk of the $750 million paid by BP for the Deepwater Horizon disaster to the Gulf Coast. Those funds, she says, could bring further development to the region.

Pappas adds this may help make the Gulf Coast more of a Las Vegas-style destination, which already has incredible golf courses and is known for its food. “There’s also tremendous efforts being put forth now by the state to seek more and more providers for airports,” she adds.

Satisfying Selections

Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort’s eateries include Under the Oak Cafe, which is open to guests 24-seven. “With 100 menu options, Under the Oak Cafe brings you classic, all-American casual dining in the shade of our old oak tree preserved within the Scarlet Pearl,” it says.

In addition to breakfast options, soups and salads, burgers and sandwiches, the restaurant also caters to its guests’ hunger for sweet treats. “Under the Oak Cafe now offers ‘Shake It Up’ specialty milkshakes decorated head-to-toe in your favorite dessert toppings and flavors,” Scarlet Pearl says.

The resort also has its Chopstx Noodle Bar, which offers Vietnamese sandwiches, noodle soup and appetizers, along with Chef Wendy’s Baking, which offers made-to-order treats. “Made using fresh and wholesome ingredients, [and] created with skill and artistry, the festive treats will satisfy even the biggest chocolate lover, pecan pie connoisseur or carrot cake fan,” it says.

Scarlet Pearl also offers guests Butler’s Bar & Lounge. “Located adjacent to Scarlet’s Steaks & Seafood, [Butler’s] offers an extraordinary drink menu [and] a whiskey selection to delight any enthusiast, an eclectic selection of wine by the bottle and glass, and a vast selection of premium spirits with a relaxed and welcoming vibe,” it says.

Rewarding Work

Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort has earned awards for its unique offerings, which include:

*Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Observer Covey Awards in 2018 for the Best Casino Hotel, Loosest Slots and the Best Casino Players Club;

*Southern Gaming and Destinations Magazine’s 2018 Reader’ Choice Award for the Best Casino Floor;

and *Casino Player’s Best of Gaming Gulf Coast 2018 awards, including first place wins in the categories of Best Hosts, Best Comps, Best Dealers, Best Reel Slots and Casino Where You Feel Luckiest.

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