Casino Gambling

Casino developers seeking new deals with new gaming commissioners

An artist's rendering of the proposed South Beach Resort and Casino in Biloxi. The developer has reapplied to the Mississippi Gaming Commission for site approval.
An artist's rendering of the proposed South Beach Resort and Casino in Biloxi. The developer has reapplied to the Mississippi Gaming Commission for site approval. Courtesy of Guice & Guice Agency

Site approval was denied years ago for South Beach Casino on Veterans Avenue in Biloxi and a casino off the Bay of St. Louis in Diamondhead, and now the developers are trying again.

“They both reapplied,” said Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

The commissioners decided at their meeting Thursday in Jackson to move their February meeting to the Coast. They plan a public hearing on the applications at the end of the regular meeting.

A time and place for the meeting will be announced, Godfrey said.

“It gives both sides the opportunity to present their information why they think it’s a legal site,” he said.

Representatives of the RW Development/South Beach site and the Jacobs Entertainment/Diamondhead site will present their cases.

The properties haven’t changed since site approval was denied.

Larry Gregory is appointed to board of American Gaming Association.

However, the three commissioners have. New commissioners Chairman Al Hopkins and Jerry Griffith Sr., both of Gulfport, and Tom Gresham, who lives in the Delta, will now decide if the properties should be granted site approval.

RW Development, owned by Ray Wooldridge, proposed building South Beach Casino on the northeast side of Veterans Avenue at U.S. 90. The commissioners in 2008 — Jerry St. Pé, John Hairston and Nolen Canon — voted it down, saying the developer did not have control of the property all the way to the water’s edge as required by state regulations.

In 2014, the same commissioners denied site approval of Jacobs Entertainment’s site west of Yacht Club Road in Diamondhead after finding the property did not fall within the 800-foot rule that allowed casinos to move ashore after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

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