Lakeshore Casino Development Moving Forward

Plans to resurrect an old casino site in Hancock County are moving forward. Developers want to open the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall and Saloon where the Jubilee Casino once operated in the Lakeshore Community.

Architects, consultants, engineers and contractors gathered at the site of proposed casino development Thursday to begin planning.

"We're trying to identify the land mines that we might encounter as we try to put this thing in. What we need to do to the site, what we need to do to the parking and the paving and the access," Project Architect Ed Oxford said.

Once those things are ironed out, the development include a 44,000 square foot land based building complete with two restaurants an entertainment area, saloons and a gift shop. That building will connect to a 26,000 square foot gambling vessel.

"We're going to have about 70,000 square feet in all, and that's just the first phase. Hopefully we'll get down the road and do real well and we'll build a hotel in the second phase," Developer Cliff McCarlie said.

The Silver Slipper Gambling Hall and Saloon will employ more than 500 people and operate with an old west theme with a southern twist.

"Turn of the century. Like gambling hall saloons with spittoons and all that kind of stuff," McCarlie said.

Developers are in the process of getting the proper permits and licenses to operate. They don't anticipate any problems since the site was approved in the past.

McCarlie says the company will make an initial $50 million investment in the project.

"There are gambling joints all up and down the coast - Mississippi, Louisiana. We're going to be the biggest little casino on the coast. We're going to be the friendliest."

McCarlie says that will set the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall and Saloon apart from the rest. If given the okay, construction will start in August. Developers expect to be open by next summer.

by Al Showers