In Mississippi, the state gaming regulator has reportedly denied permissions to build two new Gulf Coast casino resorts amid concerns that the sites for the proposed developments did not sit far enough away from the high tide mark.
According to a report from the local Sun Herald newspaper, real estate developer RW Development had applied for authorization to construct a casino in the city of Biloxi on the same plot of land it tried for in 2008 while Jacobs Entertainment Incorporated, which was similarly denied in 2014, wanted to build a gambling venue in the nearby community of Diamondhead. Both schemes were allegedly originally rejected due to concerns over their distance from the sea but were resurrected at a February 16 meeting of the Mississippi Gaming Commission held at the D’Iberville City Hall Building.
The newspaper reported that the composition of the Mississippi Gaming Commission had changed since the original refusals and RW Development and Jacobs Entertainment Incorporated were hopeful that the new-look body would institute a different interpretation of state rules brought in following the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
However, the newspaper reported that the second tranche of approvals were denied on Thursday by the three-member Mississippi Gaming Commission during its meeting at the Hard Rock Hotel And Casino Biloxi following a behind-closed-doors executive session that lasted around 90 minutes.
“All of the expert testimony submitted at the February hearing supported approval of the seawall as the state’s “mean high water line” for starting the 800 feet required for gaming sites,” read a statement from RW Development. “We are concerned that the meeting was adjourned without any explanation of the decision and that the scheduled public comment on the agenda was canceled without notice.”
The Sun Herald reported that RW Development and Jacobs Entertainment Incorporated now have 20 days to officially appeal the decision while their attorney, Michael Cavanaugh, explained that he now intends to meet with his clients in order to determine a future course of action.
“We are pleased to see the [Mississippi Gaming Commission] honoring the intent of our legislature,” Michael Bruffey, Deputy Director for the Mississippi Gaming And Hospitality Association, told the newspaper. “It is likely there will be a time when we will need our legislature to support our industry in the future and we think it is essential that our legislators know that we will abide by and defend their expressed intent when they come to our aid.”