RW hopes site approval request makes a splash

RW hopes site approval request makes a splash
Coast casinos earned $108.5 million in April 2018, up 9% last year. (Photo Source: WLOX)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Will the phrase water's edge turn the tide for RW Development? The answer will come soon.

RW Development has asked for site approval before, once in 2008, a second time last March. Yet both times, the Mississippi Gaming Commission said no. On Thursday, attorneys for the casino developer return to Jackson ready to roll the dice and get gaming commissioners to say yes to their site.

The focal point of the presentation will concentrate on two words - water's edge.

The RW project sits at the northeast corner of Highway 90 and Veterans Avenue in Biloxi. The plan is to build a casino, a hotel and other amenities on that site across from Big Play Entertainment. In two previous attempts to get commissioners to okay that location, the issue focused on the difference between the seawall and the mean high water line. Commissioners ultimately determined the project could not use the seawall as its starting spot.

Consequently, it didn't meet gaming commission regulations because it was not within 800 feet of the mean high water line.

After the March 16 vote, RW filed a legal challenge, claiming the decision by the regulatory agency was arbitrary and capricious.

While the appeal goes through the court system, RW Development continues to push for regulatory approval. So, attorneys asked their project to be placed on the July 27 gaming commission agenda. On Thursday, attorneys say they'll make the same basic presentation, with one critical change. They'll use the water's edge as their starting spot, instead of haggling over regulatory definitions of where the mean high water line begins.

Attorneys say they'll argue riparian rights give them access to the water.

Before the last presentation, the Biloxi Boardwalk Association voiced support for the casino resort. Rob Stinson headed up that group over the winter.

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

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