JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Rotate Black wants to float a casino ship on property near the Small Craft Harbor in Gulfport. Company President Dual Cooper was poker faced coming up to the table for face the three member commission. About two minutes later, the poker face showed a sign of relief.
The commission voted the site was a legal one for a casino operation, the first step in a lengthy process. Nevertheless, Cooper was relieved.
"I was very excited," Cooper said. "We're all very happy and like you said, this is the first step in a long procedure that's going to take some time, but we're all excited about getting the project up and running."
Rotate Black wants to build a $40 million casino operation in Gulfport, but Gaming Commission Chairman Jerry St. Pe' isn't ready to roll the dice just yet, for Rotate Black or any other company.
"Rotate Black, or any other developer, once a site is determined to be legal, then the next process is they need to come before the commission with their developmental plans so the commission can exercise judgement with regard to those plans and a major part of that is suitability," St. Pe' said.
There have been some concerns that Rotate Black would not meet the one to one requirement that the Gaming Commission demands by spending as much on amenities as on the casino itself. But Cooper said that's not the case, and promised to meet that requirement.
"We're also building a hotel for opening, restaurants, bars and so on. So it's not just a boat, it's going to be a whole build-out, and within four years we'll have our large casino and hotel built and up and running."
So for now, Cooper and his company are up and running to come up with a gaming plan that will please the commission.
With Thursday's vote, commissioners gave Rotate Black control of the site for one year. By next year at this time, the company has to present plans for development on the site, or risk losing the option on the property. Cooper said that deadline will be met.