Casino Gambling

Coast a step closer to 13th casino after Mississippi Gaming Commission OKs site

It’s been talked about for years, and on Wednesday, Long Beach took a big step toward getting the city’s first casino.

The Mississippi Gaming Commission granted site approval at a special meeting Wednesday in Gulfport.

The vote was unanimous, said Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Gaming Commission.

In November, the Gaming Commission met in Long Beach and tabled the application for site approval. The delay was to give the commission more time to consider and investigate the application, Chairman Al Hopkins said following that meeting.

Site approval means the 12-acre property — on the old Kmart site north of U.S. 90 and east of Jeff Davis Avenue in Long Beach — meets state regulations and that the casino will be within 800 feet of the mean high water line.

It doesn’t mean Coast developer James Parrish and others involved in the casino can break ground on the proposed casino. Before the Gaming Commission gives approval to proceed, the developers must show they have the financing to complete the project and that it meets the guidelines of at least a 40,000-square-foot casino, a 300 room hotel, a fine dining restaurant and other stipulations. One of those is that the new casino resort brings something unique that will grow the casino market.

Parrish told the Sun Herald in June 2018 that he and other investors had already spent 2 years working on bringing the casino to Long Beach.

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Mary Perez is the business and casino reporter for the Sun Herald and also writes about Biloxi, jobs and the new restaurants and development coming to the Coast. She is a fourth-generation journalist.