Some Casinos Push For East Biloxi Meeting Space

Resort managers near Point Cadet are trying to find out if the coliseum's next expansion should actually be a second convention center complex -- a lot closer to the east Biloxi casinos.

Keith Crosby runs the Palace Casino. "The suggestion is let's at least examine it," he said. "It makes sense for the redevelopment of the east end of Biloxi."

The Gulf Coast Gaming Association recently asked the company that recommended the convention center expansion if it had determined the best location for it. The gaming association's director is Beverly Martin. She expects gaming executives to get an answer next month. "The bottom line is that before we can endorse any additional convention center, any expansion of existing convention center, or new convention center for that matter," Martin said, "we have questions that need to be answered."

Martin said that right now, the casinos are divided on the location question.

Those close to the current facility think it should be expanded. Property managers like Keith Crosby who are closer to Point Cadet like the east Biloxi idea, because in his view, convention guests would have easier access to meeting rooms and hotels. "It also makes sense for the additional growth and availability of more rooms at this end of town in the future," he said.

Coliseum director Bill Holmes said he would keep an open mind to the second convention center concept. But, he's still pushing forward with expansion plans for his facility. In fact, next week, Holmes will show off his ideas to a west Biloxi civic group.

Whether the extra convention space goes up by Casino Row or by the coliseum, it must get legislative approval before it could be built.