Empty lots and rundown buildings are what you see if you look north of the Small Craft Harbor in Gulfport. That soon could change with the construction of a new casino. Rob Stinson, the owner of Lookout Steakhouse in downtown Gulfport, says, "I think we are seeing some good things with these businesses coming to our area." Local business owners feel this new 112 million dollar resort, purposed by Rotate Black, would help fuel tourism and bring more people to Gulfport. Stinson also says, "I sit on a lot of different boards that monitor and hope to increase tourism. This will be a great advantage." Sean Humphrey, the owner of 13th Street Salon, says, "I think it should be great for our business. We get a lot of tourists in. We've been doing a lot of other casinos, so this is going to do nothing but boost the economy." City officials are also backing the plan.
Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes says this casino is something the city has wanted for several years. Hewes says, "The Gaming Commission thought it would be helpful to have a reaffirmation of our support and I wrote them a letter saying if they build to the standards they are talking about, we are very supportive of it." The approval of the future casino still hinges on a public meeting that will be held on December 30th, but city officials say they expect no problems with the current plan. Ricky Dombrowski, the City Council President, says, "We included it in our budget two years ago, but we had to take it out, but it’s business, it’s jobs, it’s revenue, it's a lot." If this casino is approved, the Mississippi Gulf Coast will boast 14 casinos, which is three more than Atlantic City has. If the plan is not passed by December 31st, the hotel will have to include 300 rooms instead of the 200 that are currently planned.