Developers will have to keep trying if they want to build a casino in Mississippi as recent plans were rejected by the state Gaming Commission.
Two separate proposals have been made in the state of Mississippi to see casinos constructed; one in Biloxi and one in Diamondhead. Both proposals were rejected by the Mississippi Gaming Commission yesterday with members of the Commission stating their decision was based on the fact that both projects did not have control over the land in the waterfront of each city.
The Diamondhead project is being pursued by Jacobs Entertainment while the Biloxi project was proposed by RW Development. It is believed that both companies will continue with their pursuits in offering casino gaming in their respected areas.
The proposal for Diamondhead has been rejected in the past, back in 2014. The Biloxi project was pursued even further back, in 2008, and was also rejected. Back during the time that both projects were rejected, the members of the commission were different individuals than they are today. This is why both developers decided to try again for approval. It was believed that the new members would have a differing opinion and possibly give approval for the projects to move forward.
The current laws in the state allow for developers to build gambling venues on the shore. These regulation were put in place after Hurricane Katrina as casinos were heavily damaged due to the storm.
The developers who introduced the two proposals are definitely disappointed that their offers were rejected. With the latest ruling by the commission, it is unclear how either developer will try to proceed with seeing their proposals approved. It is believed that an appeal will take place immediately by RW Development. The gaming commissioners, of which there are three, have not commented any further on their decision.
The casinos currently operating in Mississippi were able to generate just over $2 billion last year which was an increase of just over 1% from 2015. Several casinos still operate in Biloxi and the surrounding region, so there are concerns by existing operators that competition will be an issue. It is believed that the concerns of these operators led to the decision by the commissioners. However, the project for Diamondhead would have been the first casino for the city.
Jacobs Entertainment was greatly disappointed that their proposal for a gaming venue in Diamondhead was rejected. However, the company was not the only one showing dismay. The mayor of Diamondhead, Tommy Schafer, was also disappointed, as he had supported the proposal for some time. The mayor spoke with the local media after the decision was made by the commission and stated that the decision prevented a much-needed economic engine from being created that could have helped the city and its residents. The economy would have been bolstered and the budget strengthened with annual tax contributions by the new venue.
The mayor also talked to the media about the project and how it was unable to reach the stage in which the developers would have presented a design of the casino and adjourning facilities. Approval for the site is essential by the Mississippi Gaming Commission in order for a developer interested in creating a casino can proceed with the project formation.
For now, both developers will have to get back to the drawing board and see what they can come up with that might convince the gaming commission to give them a chance, at least to create plans for their projects. We shall see in the coming weeks if decisions are made by the developers and if any appeals are created on the matter.