Mississippi Might Amend On line casino Legislation After Biloxi Controversy

Posted on: February 25, 2024, 12:26h. 

Final up to date on: February 25, 2024, 12:26h.

Mississippi lawmakers in Jackson are contemplating laws that may overhaul the state’s guidelines on how new casinos alongside the Gulf Coast are permitted.

Biloxi casino Mississippi
The Margaritaville and Golden Nugget casinos in Biloxi. Mississippi lawmakers are mulling laws that may amend the state’s on line casino act to make it tougher for brand spanking new on line casino initiatives to be greenlit alongside the Gulf Coast. (Picture: Kayak)

Senate Invoice 2780 was launched earlier this month by 4 Republican state Senators and one Democrat. The measure seeks to amend the Mississippi Gaming Management Act to alter the applying course of for brand spanking new on line casino initiatives in Biloxi and different Gulf cities.

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which precipitated a lot injury to Gulf casinos, state lawmakers allowed casinos to rebuild inland, as long as the gaming flooring remained 800 ft from their unique barges. For a brand new on line casino on the Gulf, a proposed gaming area have to be inside 800 ft of the imply high-water line.

Final 12 months, Biloxi’s native authorities contracted a personal firm to assemble a $3 million pier close to the intersection of Veterans Avenue and Seaside Boulevard (US Freeway 90). The challenge gave the agency — RW Growth, managed by businessman Ray Wooldridge — entry to property that’s inside 800 ft of the imply high-water line. That’s vital to Wooldridge, who has for years been attempting to safe state approval to construct a on line casino resort.

Wooldridge owns the Large Play Leisure Heart simply inland from the place the pier will probably be constructed. He needs to switch the arcade and amusement facility with a on line casino resort.

Mississippi Lawyer Normal Lynn Fitch sued Biloxi and Harrison County for issuing the pier contract with out approval from the state. The Mississippi Supreme Courtroom dominated in opposition to Fitch and concluded that the county possessed the authority to approve the challenge with out the developer holding a state Tidelands lease.

On line casino Licensing Overhaul

SB 2780 would change the method for a Gulf on line casino developer to mandate that every one candidates first get hold of a Tidelands lease from the state. The Mississippi authorities owns the state’s tidelands — lands which can be coated and uncovered each day by water because of tides.

The laws would require on line casino builders to acquire a tidelands lease by means of the secretary of state’s workplace and be required to pay annual lease. The objective of the measure is to presumably thwart future on line casino developments following the controversial RW Growth approval.

After RW secured entry to property inside the 800-foot imply high-water line, the Mississippi Gaming Fee in January lent web site approval for a on line casino improvement.

Now greater than ever, we have to restore a constant regulatory atmosphere to protect the sand seashore and encourage additional funding and enhancements within the Coast on line casino market,” invoice sponsor Sen. David Blount (D-Hinds) instructed the Solar Herald.

Blount stated he labored with Biloxi’s present casinos in authoring the invoice.

The laws seeks to make Wooldridge’s on line casino desires expensive, as SB 2780 would moreover amend the necessities for a brand new on line casino to incorporate a minimal of 300 lodge rooms, a 40,000-square-foot on line casino area, and an amenity “distinctive to the licensee’s market to encourage financial improvement and promote tourism.” SB 2780 has been directed to the Senate Gaming Committee for preliminary overview.

Wooldridge thinks the Gulf casinos are merely afraid of recent competitors.

Wooldridge Backstory

Wooldridge offered his modular furnishings firm House Grasp Worldwide in 1999 for $270 million. He used a part of the proceeds — $56 million — to accumulate a 35% stake within the NBA Charlotte Hornets.

Wooldridge was instrumental in relocating the Hornets to New Orleans, which occurred in 2002. Wooldridge offered his stake within the Pelicans group in 2004 for $65 million.

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