Gaming commission reviews two proposals
Two groups are trying their luck once again with the state’s gaming commission. Today, the commission heard arguments for and against casino site proposals in Biloxi and Diamondhead.
South Beach in Biloxi is a casino site that was proposed by RW Development at Thursday’s gaming commission meeting. Developers are hoping to have better luck this second time around after former gaming commissioners shot down their proposal back in 2008. They said the site is not a legal one for gaming. Attorneys with the state’s gaming and hospitality association say this is still the case. Deputy Director and Attorney for Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association Michael Bruffey said, “So if we’re going to do it, let’s go back to the legislature and let’s ask them ‘hey, this is what we need to do. For all of the reasons we heard today in support of this, those arguments need to be made to the legislature, not to the Mississippi Gaming Commission.”
Local restaurant owner Rob Stinson disagrees and believes South Beach Casino would be good for business. “I think quite a bit has changed. There’s a lot more information now that would show support of the development of support in the business world and in the political world. I think that the board has got a difficult time with the new information provided. I think they’ll come back with an affirmative.”
Another project back on the table is a Diamondhead casino presented by Jacob’s Entertainment after it was denied three years ago. One Diamondhead resident says his home sits just 75 feet from the proposed site and is surprised the commission would even reconsider the application. Diamondhead resident Uwe Seitz said, “In 2014 when it was denied, it was pretty clear that it’s an illegal site. The proposed site is located on a tributary and Mississippi gaming rule two states that any location that’s on a tributary is not in the legal zoning for a casino and none of that has changed.”
Attorneys for the casino developers argue otherwise. Attorney Michael Cavanaugh said, “The law says 800 feet from the mean high water line from a qualifying body of water. The key point is it’s a qualifying body of water and one case is that the Bay of St. Louis and our experts say that is the Bay of St. Louis and if you’re 800 feet from that point then that’s a legal gaming site.”
The commissioners plan to review these cases and could make a decision at their next meeting on March 16th in Biloxi.