25-year evolution of South Mississippi casinos
While the Mississippi Gaming Commission considers site approval for a casino in Long Beach, other Coast cities are still waiting for their casinos to be built.
South Mississippi has 13 properties that have site approval — more than the 12 casinos already operating on the Coast.
Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Gaming Commission has granted 22 site approvals for casinos that never were built, along with Margaritaville Casino in Biloxi that closed in 2014 but still has site approval.
Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Gaming Commission, said site approvals no longer expire. But site approval is just the first step. Before any cranes move in, the developers have to show they have financing in place to complete and operate the casino. For some, that can be an extremely long process, Godfrey said.
Biloxi has six site approvals and D’Iberville three, including the Royal D’Iberville. Mark Seymour Sr. dreamed of building the casino with a French marketplace. He kept a rendering on his desk to look at every day, but he died before he could get it funded. The land now is owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
The casino at the Gulfport Harbor has yet to break ground after many changes in plans as the Gaming Commission required the former developer to up its game. The Diamondhead casino property has waited for years for a developer to partner with Diamondhead Casino Corp., which owns 404 acres along Interstate 10 and the Bay of St. Louis.
Residents told the Gaming Commission a casino would bring much-needed tax revenue to Long Beach, as a casino would to the neighboring city of Pass Christian.
There’s even a casino site approved in Harrison County. Many proposed casinos never got beyond the pretty picture stage.
Here are the properties with site approval in South Mississippi:
▪ Biloxi Boardwalk Casino & Resort — Ferrara Land Management Mississippi and property owner Chris Ferrara at the old Heinz plant on Bay of Biloxi. Site approval June 21, 2012
▪ MVB Holding — Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant, which is now closed. Site approval April 7, 2011
▪ Broadwater Equities — north of Mississippi Sound and U.S. 90. Former location of President Casino. Site approval Oct. 23, 2008
▪ Bayview Gaming Group — 8 acres on the 500 block of Bayview Avenue. Site approval March 20, 2008
▪ MFT Casino Corp. — 9 acres at 401 Caillavet St. Site approval Jan. 18, 2007
▪ Golden Gulf Casino — 15 ares on Back Bay Boulevard, east of Boomtown Casino, on land owned by Chris Ferrara. Site approval Oct. 27, 2005
▪ Oyster Bay Development — 5 acres east of Scarlet Pearl Casino, north of Bay of Biloxi and bordering the Jackson County line. Site approval April 29, 2010
▪ Royal D’Iberville Casino & Hotel — west of I-110 bridge on Biloxi Bay. Site approval Feb. 15, 2007
▪ West D’Iberville Development — Just west of I-110 and on the north shore of Biloxi Bay and west of Boney Avenue. Site approval July 7, 2006
▪ Mississippi Gaming Corp. — 404 acres along the Bay of St. Louis and east of the Diamondhead exit of I-10. Site approval Aug. 21, 2014
▪ Mississippi Coast Entertainment and Gulfport Gaming Development — At the Port of Gulfport near Jones Park, last proposed as the Hemingway Casino. Site approval Aug. 18, 2016
▪ IOC Mississippi — 50 acres bordered on the east by the Dupont plant, now Chemours DeLisle Plant, and Kiln-DeLisle Road, on the north by I-10 and on the South by the Bay of St. Louis. Site approval June 15, 2006
▪ Blue Water Bay Casino — Proposed by Southern Gaming Thrills on last east of Bay of St. Louis and and west of Discovery Bay subdivision. Site approval Sept. 18, 2008