D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Since the first casino opened two decades ago hundreds of millions of dollars has been pumped into the local economy. In addition, thousands of local jobs have been added and tourists are more attracted to this area.
Casinos have proved good for the economy and cities such as D'Iberville want that boost. Mayor Rusty Quave said they have been working for years to get a casino and are closer now than ever.
Quave said, "We have four sites that have been approved for site suitability, three of the sites are actively working, the one you can see behind me is working today on site preparation."
Quave said when he first heard the gaming commission was thinking about adding new regulations, he was worried this might be another setback.
"We contacted Allen Godfrey from the Mississippi Gaming Commission and spoke with him and understood they are trying to help grow the market and not take away from it," Quave said.
The new rules being considered would require casinos to have at least 300 hotel rooms with a Forbes four star rating. They would also increase the gaming room size, parking lot size, must have two restaurants and the property would have to have some sort of non gaming amenities that would lure tourists.
This is not sitting well with city leaders in Long Beach and Diamondhead, who worry this would prevent them from ever having the opportunity to open a casino. Both mayors say they have constructed a letter to the gaming commission which will be reviewed at this week's council meetings.
As for D'Iberville, Quave said the projects already in the works can be grand fathered into the current requirements, but he is anxious to see what the gaming commission decides about future properties.
"Once the final regulations come out we will have an opportunity to look at them and I'm sure the city of D'Iberville will express our opinions on them, right now we feel good the way they are," Quave said.
There are currently no Forbes four star rated hotels in Mississippi or Alabama.
According to Forbes, a hotel cannot qualify as a four star facility after a single inspection. An inspector must visit the property twice to make sure that it qualifies and that the service and atmosphere are up to par.
If you would like to know more about what it takes to become a four star hotel click here.