Diamondhead gaming site wins approval

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Gaming Commission has unanimously approved a site on Diamondhead's south side as a legal gaming site.

According to Commission Chairman John Hairston, the site is clearly on the Bay of St Louis, clearly within 800 feet of the Water's edge and has been zoned for gaming by the City of Diamondhead.

The site was found legal in the mid 90s, but in those days the casino had to float, which made the project much more challenging. Now, the project can be built on land.

Diamondhead Casino Corporation is a different proposed development than the one proposed by Jacobs Entertainment, which was shot-down by gaming commissioners in June.

This proposed casino site is a 400 acre track of land near the Bay of St. Louis just off of I-10 between Diamondhead and the Deslisle Exits.

"The location is going to be away from residential housing It will be located in an isolated area just off of the interstate where people can come and go and it will not interfere with our local traffic," said Paulette Snyder, who has been a property owner in Diamondhead for more than 30 years.

She said Diamondhead Casino Corporation has what she considers the perfect location for a casino resort.

"I really think we need the tax base. I think it would be a great improvement for Hancock County, not just Diamondhead," said Snyder.

In spite of the tax benefits, not all residents are excited about the prospect of having a casino development close to home.

"I'd much rather have some kind of good industry or small business here," Resident Penny Crawford said. "We need businesses to give us consistent tax values. Not a casino. I still don't think a casino is the way to go."

But Diamondhead city leaders say it's the best way to go.

"Verses bits and pieces of small revenue from smaller businesses it would be a large economic engine for us which would be very helpful to the city," explained City Councilman Joseph Lopez.

Lopez said community support for this site is much greater than any other.

After this morning's Gaming Commission meeting, the developer said commissioners could expect a project suitability request in the next six months to a year.

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