Both Mississippi Casino Projects Denied

Yesterday we reported on the possibility of Mississippi adding 2 new casinos to its arsenal. Towards the end of that piece we discussed how similar proposals had been shot down in the past, and by the end of the day on Thursday history had repeated itself. Both the proposed Biloxi and Diamondhead casino sites were shot down, both for not complying with state laws pertaining to the proximity of the casinos to the shoreline.

Though an inexperienced person might be led to believe that the state would like to see casinos built as far away from shore as possible, the opposite is actually true. In essence, if the casino’s property is not directly adjacent to the shoreline (of the Gulf of Mexico), it cannot be built. Both of the aforementioned sites seemed to be stretching the definition of “shoreline,” and ultimately were shot down as a result.

Appeals Looming

Despite the ruling yesterday, RW Development stated that they plan to immediately appeal the decision(s).
The ruling came in the midst of March’s gaming commission meeting, which was already set to take place in Biloxi. The meeting lasted only an hour and a half, and during that time many different people and groups with a stake in the proposed casino endeavors sat around and speculated upon how the gaming commission would rule.

Before long, Gaming Commission Executive Director Allen Godfrey took the stage and officially recommended—to both the attendees and his colleagues—that the 2 sites be denied. Almost immediately following this, the three voting commissioners voted unanimously to deny both the Biloxi and Diamondhead casino projects. Interestingly enough, none of the commissioners nor the Executive Director elaborated upon why, exactly, they were choosing to deny the projects.

As you might have learned yesterday, the 2 proposed casino sites had already been proposed in the past; on 2 occasions, actually. Both of those times the projects were denied, however this time there was a feeling that things would be different as those that were voting did not participate in any of the previous two votes. Still, even with different people presiding over the case, it was shot down once more.

Not too long after the vote took place, the presiding commissioners departed, still without making any comment regarding their decisions. At the end of the day, the result should have been expected. The same exact sites had been denied before, and developers were simply hoping that new commissioners would breed a new result. That much did not prove to be the case, and now the attorney for both projects has 20 days to file an appeal. That will most certainly be done, but the success of the appeal is something that remains to be seen.