Gaming commission reconsiders Biloxi casino site

Gaming commission reconsiders Biloxi casino site

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Gaming Commission is about to reconsider plans for a new casino in Biloxi.

RW Development still wants to build a casino resort at Veterans Ave. and Hwy. 90. It's the same site that was rejected by the gaming commission back in 2008.

Back then, commissioners said it did not meet the state's requirement regarding its distance from the mean high tide mark. Next week, developers will try again with support from a new business group.

The area around the proposed casino site has changed over the past eight years. Business owners are excited about new restaurants, entertainment options, and plans to build a new waterfront boardwalk between Veterans and Rodenberg avenues.

"I think the RW Development project just goes hand in hand with that; bringing more traffic, tourism, and more business to the water," said restaurant owner Rob Stinson.

A newly-formed group called the Biloxi Boardwalk Association plans to adopt a resolution supporting the casino project.

"I think it will make that truly the pinnacle of Biloxi. I think it will be the greatest area on the water where tourists will want to go," Stinson said.

Big Play Entertainment certainly supports the casino plans. They say it should benefit all businesses in the area.

"I think it's a great idea. It's going to bring not only more tourists and more people to this area, but it's also going to bring in more employment and more jobs. We're always looking for places to bring more jobs to the Gulf Coast," said Kellie Sperry, with Big Play.

The casino project last came before the gaming commission about eight and a half years ago during a meeting here at the Biloxi Community Center. There was a large crowd on hand, and the commission heard from about two dozen members of the public, both for and against the project.

After that public input, Commissioner Jerry St. Pe made a motion that the application be denied. The vote which followed was unanimous against the casino project.

Supporters are convinced now is the time to give RW Development the go ahead for its casino.

"I don't think that we're saturated, I really don't. I think anything that will bring more people into the area we're talking about would be great for us," said Stinson.

One thing that's changed in the past eight years is the makeup of the state gaming commission. Supporters are hopeful the new panel will look more favorably on the project when it considers the casino plans at a meeting next Thursday, Feb. 16, at D'Iberville City Hall.            

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