updated 1/10/2006 7:04:16 PM ET 2006-01-11T00:04:16

Harrah's Entertainment Inc., the world's largest gaming company, will invest more than $1 billion to build two casinos in Biloxi, according to Mayor A.J. Holloway.

Anthony Sanfilippo, president of Harrah's operations in the central United States, said his company will soon make a formal announcement of its plans, according to a published report. He said the company will be joined at the announcement by Holloway, Gov. Haley Barbour and Mississippi Gaming Commission officials.

"At this point, we're not ready to reveal those plans nor associate a time frame or set of dollars potentially to be spent in Biloxi. But having said that, we do plan on making a significant investment in Biloxi," Sanfilippo said, according to The Sun Herald newspaper.

"We've greatly appreciated Mayor Holloway's positive position on the gaming industry in the future development of Biloxi," Sanfilippo told the newspaper. "He's made it crystal clear that the gaming industry will be the engine for the future long-term development of Biloxi. That excites us."

Holloway was not available for comment, but his spokesman, Vincent Creel, confirmed the report was accurate. A spokesman for Harrah's was not available to comment.

According to the report, Holloway said Harrah's will build two casinos — one on the north side of Beach Boulevard and one on the south side — and the project will cost more than $1 billion. The company could open a casino inside its Bayview Hotel as early as this summer, Holloway said, but will rebuild from the ground up on the south side of Beach Boulevard.

Harrah's owns the Grand Casinos in Biloxi and Gulfport. Both casinos were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29. Last month, Harrah's announced it was pulling out of Gulfport.

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