D’Iberville’s first casino quite the pearl
Interest in building new casinos seems to be booming on the Coast as developers announce they may build a second casino in D’Iberville.
In D’Iberville, the casino would be where Oyster Bay Casino was proposed for several years, east of Scarlet Pearl Casino near the city limit with Jackson County, said Mayor Rusty Quave.
He and D’Iberville Coastal Corp. and Global Gaming Leasing announced this week a casino project is under consideration.
Those involved in the deal are Ron Wellborn Sr., a Texas-based developer who has had interest in D’Iberville, and Stephen Richer with D’Iberville Coastal Corp. and a former executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.
D’Iberville “is the perfect location for additional lodging, entertainment, retail, special activities and gaming, due to the high volume of retail sales, current casino success, and access to Interstate 10,” they said in a press release.
Quave agrees and said that in addition to several new restaurants opening or on the way to D’Iberville, the council on Tuesday approved plans for a Walk-On’s restaurant and sports bar co-owned by New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees.
To satisfy regulations of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, the casino must be within 800 feet of the water line, must have at least 300 hotel rooms, a fine dining restaurant and an attraction or amenity that will be so appealing it will grow the local casino market.
The two companies proposing the new project said they have “several options to fully fund the project, acquire the necessary properties and develop a resort which will broadly expand the customer base for D’Iberville, Harrison County, Coastal Mississippi, and the state, as well as generate more jobs, economic impact and tax revenue.”
More information about the project will be released will when the developers file for a hearing with the Gaming Commission, they said.
The city will provide a letter of intent to allow the two companies to lease Fountain Pier on the Back Bay within the next six months, Quave said, as part of the overall planned project.
The pier will remain in the public domain, he said, and the developers may make improvements to the waterfront once the casino is built.
Quave said people have questioned why the city would ever back another casino that might cut into the profits of Scarlet Pearl, which opened in December 2015.
He and other city officials fought for more than two decades to get the first casino built in D’Iberville, and Quave said it’s everything the city had hoped for — “That and more,” he said. Another casino would boost tourism in D’Iberville and across the Coast, he said.
“The City of D’Iberville had its best sales tax in December that it’s ever had,” said Quave, who previously announced his seventh four-year term would be his last, but now says, “I may run again.”
Another casino on the west side of I-10, on a site owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, also could still happen he said. The tribe is spending $1.3 billion to buy the Sands casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but Quave said they could return with plans for a D’Iberville casino.