Hancock County Casino Developers Surrender Their License

The Phoenix Leisure Corporation surrendered its gaming license Wednesday. That move put its Bayou Caddy casino project on hold.

Company officials told the gaming commission they aren't scrapping their plans. This move simply gives the Phoenix group more time to find new financial backers for their project. Phoenix Leisure is the company that already has a casino barge docked near the Lakeshore community.

On the day the gaming commission met in Gulfport, the tax commission released January's casino revenue totals. 2003 got off to a good start. The casinos grossed $104 million dollars -- a modest four percent increase over a year ago.

Casino revenues were one of the discussion points at the gaming commission meeting. Commissioners heard from coast leaders, so they could get a better idea of what gaming has meant to South Mississippi.

Commissioner Len Blackwell set up the presentation.

"The gaming commission isn't the chamber of commerce for the casino industry. We regulate the casino industry," Blackwell said. "But I also realize how important the employment is, how important the periferal industries are to the gaming business and how much we need to be studying problems to understand what the economy would be without gaming."

Commissioner Blackwell said gaming revenues make up about six percent of Mississippi's general budget.