Gaming commission adds requirements for casino industry - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gaming commission adds requirements for casino industry

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

To make Mississippi more of a destination rather than just another place to visit, the state gaming commission is making some changes. Thursday morning new regulations were adopted, which commissioners say are meant to make Mississippi casinos the place to be.

"There's no spot that more than three hours away from a casino when you drive now," said commission chairman John Hairston.

Under the new regulations any new casino in Mississippi must also come with a hotel with at least 300 rooms. Hotels would also have to receive at least a three-diamond rating. Gaming space must be at least 40,000-square-foot with a parking facility to put at least 500 cars. At least two restaurants must also be included with one of them as fine dinning. On top of that, developers must also include some type of amenity unique to the market.

"We can't rely only on slot machines and table games, there has to be more. We need amenities and hotels and concert halls and water parks, amusement parks and things that people want to come and stay for a few days for," said Hairston.

Hairston says just having casinos no longer makes Mississippi unique in terms of drawing in visitors and money. With the new regulations he said the goal is to set Mississippi apart from neighboring states.

"We have to offer something in a consolidated view of things to do," said Hairston.

"The Mississippi market is value driven and family driven," said Diamondhead Mayor Chuck Ingraham.

Ingraham says he was initially concerned the new requirements would shut smaller cities like his out of the gaming market. With the commission relaxing some of those initial requirements, Ingraham says the new regulations can make the state more of an attraction.

"We certainly agree that it needs to set itself apart and that we need to also in the process promote more tourists to come to Mississippi," said Ingraham.

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