Legislature Should Provide Clarification On Casino Sites

Members of the Mississippi Ad Hoc Gaming Committee said lawmakers need to clarify the rules for casino sites in Harrison and Hancock Counties. That concensus comes while the committee waits to see if a judge will reconsider his ruling that prevents Treasure Bay Casino from moving.

Tuesday was the Ad Hoc Committee's first meeting since the August 4th ruling regarding Treasure Bay's relocation plans.

Treasure Bay has sustained millions of dollars in storm damage and wants to move closer to Highway 90. But Judge Robert Walker said the state gaming commission overstepped its authority when it okayed Treasure Bay's proposed move.

The court ruling was briefly discussed during the ad hoc meeting.

Gaming commission chairman Lynn Blackwell said the legislature needs to be the final decision maker.

"To sell it to 'em, we're gonna have to be very definite in what this would not do. It would not expand the area of gaming.  It would protect the environment instead of hurting the environment.  It would not hurt competition or give anybody an undue competitive advantage.  And it would preserve the tidelands and tidelands trust. And so those are very important considerations that I think any legislator would want to know," Blackwell said.

Blackwell said legislation would impact all of Mississippi because the Coast casinos contribute millions of dollars to the state.

Judge Robert Walker said he will hear arguments from Treasure Bay and the gaming commission in the next few weeks.