HORRY COUNTY,SC (WMBF) – The owners of the new Aquasino predict their new casino boat could have a $5 million impact on Horry County when it begins sailing out of Little River.
The prediction was based on payroll and visitor taxes for the remainder of 2010, in addition to money spent on restaurants, hotels and gas.
"This will be a destination spot for people in Myrtle Beach. This will be something a lot of people will want to come and see," said owner Robert Weisberg.
The 220-foot long boat that stands three stories high has the capacity to entertain up to 600 people.
The Sun Cruz Casino boat originally docked in Little River, but owners filed for bankruptcy last year. Weisberg said that particular boat had no problems in Little River.
"They did very well here in Myrtle Beach. In fact, of all the ports in Myrtle Beach, Sun Cruz was the most profitable for 10 years," said Weisberg.
So far, Aquasino has hired 170 people, including Fred Maynard who formerly worked for Sun Cruz.
"Everything is going to fall into place and work out just fine," he said.
Currently all positions with Aquasino are filled, but Human Resources Director Cindy Teee said that may change.
"Right now we're pretty staffed for the beginning of our sail. Normally there is a turnover due to the reason that people aren't used to riding on the boat or double shifts," she said.
Teee said people can plan on at least 10 jobs reopening in about two weeks.
Owners are planning on at least 40,000 people in Little River this weekend for the Blue Crab Festival, so what does that mean for the immediate economic impact?
"I don't know how much it will have initially, but it will let people see the boat for the first time," Weisberg said.
Weisberg said he hopes Aquasino will be a name people remember and draw the crowds back to Little River.