Gaming commission rejects proposal for Biloxi casino site

Gaming commission rejects proposal for Biloxi casino site

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Gaming Commission has again rejected a casino site proposal from RW Development.

Things looked good for RW Development, but only for a moment.

"As chair, I move that the RW site be found legal. Do I have a second? I do not have a second," gaming commission chairman Al Hopkins said during the meeting.

Then there was confusion as he moved to declare the site not legal, which passed unanimously. As a lawyer, Hopkins explained the dilemma facing the commission.

"If a commission can put in a regulation that overrules the law, then we have no need for the legislature or the governor," he said.

Attorneys for RW never got a chance to present their latest argument for site approval, using the actual waterline on the property as the basis for being a legal site.

"They didn't give us due process. They didn't give us the opportunity to present our application," noted Michael Cavanaugh, who says going to the Mississippi Supreme Court is an option, if necessary.

Even for him, figuring out exactly what happened was difficult.

"The law should control the outcome, but he also believes that the regulation controls it," Cavanaugh said. "So, it's somewhat confusing; to be honest with you."

Brandon Wooldridge with RW was just as stunned.

"I've only been to three gaming commission meetings, all for RW, and every one has been different. This is not what we expected. Of course, we want site approval."

Wooldridge says the company is not giving up the dream of developing a casino on their property.

"We will continue to fight. In his own words - it is a legal site based on state gaming law," said Wooldridge. "We'll continue to pursue the site and continue to do all the other developments were doing in the area."

Attorney's for RW say an earlier appeal on the second gaming commission rejection of the Highway 90 site is still ongoing.

The gaming commission rejected a proposal for the same site at the intersection of Hwy. 90 and Veterans Ave. in Biloxi on March 16. Commissioners ruled in March the area was not a legal gaming site because the developers do not control the land to the water's edge, which is required by state law. RW Development appealed that decision.

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