Casino Gambling

Gulfport looks to align casino regulations with state laws

The Island View Casino Resort Beach Tower was open for a media tour of the Coast's newest hotel and conference center, Wednesday, April 29, 2015. City officials are looking to change Gulfport’s casino regulations to match the state’s requirements for all future casino development.
The Island View Casino Resort Beach Tower was open for a media tour of the Coast's newest hotel and conference center, Wednesday, April 29, 2015. City officials are looking to change Gulfport’s casino regulations to match the state’s requirements for all future casino development. ttisbell@sunherald.com

City officials want to align casino regulations with the state requirements and the first step comes at the next Planning Commission meeting, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 at City Hall.

Greg Pietrangelo, Gulfport’s director of urban development, said the city is looking at issues such as height and hotel rooms. Gulfport’s current regulations call for a 400-room hotel, while the Mississippi Gaming Commission requires 300 rooms.

If adopted, Gulfport’s rules would actually change when the state regulations change, Pietrangelo said.

The current regulations require a minimum of seven acres of contiguous land adjacent to U.S. 90, the Mississippi Sound or harbor areas for a casino. Up to 75 percent of the land can be covered by buildings. The city’s requirements give a developer four years after approval from the Gulfport Planning Commission to open a hotel, but the state requires a hotel as part of the development when the casino opens.

Once reviewed by the Planning Commission, the proposal must be approved by the city council, Pietrangelo said.

Not on the agenda for the Feb. 23 Planning Commission meeting is Gulfport Gaming Development’s request for approval to use five lots at the Gulfport harbor for a casino. The request was on the agenda in January until the developers, who plan to build a $140 million casino resort on 10 acres at the Gulfport harbor, asked the city to defer action.

Pietrangelo said the project is still scheduled to be on the March agenda.

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