Casinos Or Not In Jackson County?

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians recently notified County Supervisors about their vision to build a new casino resort.

"Yes, I am for casinos," says Sammy Abbey.

"Yes here in Jackson County, I am definitely for it," says Jackie Davis.

"No," says Richard Hogue.

Lately, the main topic of discussion in the streets of Jackson County is whether or not to bring gaming to the area.

"We need stimulation in the economy right now," says Sammy Abbey.

In a recent letter to the Jackson County Supervisors, Tribal Chief Phillip Martin discussed the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians plans to turn their 100 acre First American Printing Property, located near Highway 57 and I-10, into a new casino resort.

But before those plans become reality, Jakcson County voters must approve a gaming referendum. Residents we spoke with had mixed feelings about the proposal.

Sammy Abbey says he doesn't see anything wrong with a casino in Jackson County.

"I know it while create a lot of jobs, and help the economy out and I do not see any harm it can do," Sammy Abbey says.

Clarence Furbey says, "We need something to bring the county back to reality. The county is dying, (We need to) get businesses back in the county because people build around casinos."

Jackson County native Jackie Davis says a new casino would bring in more tourists and more money, something the area desparetly needs after Katrina.

"It is nothing here to offer the people in Jackson County everything is the same no performing arts are anything like that," says Jackie Davis.

While many resident look at the possibility of gaming in Jackson County as a big economic boost, others say bringing casinos in the area would do more harm than good.

"It is a waste of money. People should be using this money to pump into their town than to put into someonelses pocket," says Richard Hogue.

Carol-Lee Harshaner says, "Just to put the casino here without the plans is a disaster waiting to happen."

Although residents we spoke with have differing opinions on the issue, one thing they do agree on is that they want the best for Jackson County.

Choctaw leaders would like the referendum vote in 2008. Back in 1991 Jackson County voters overwhelmingly voted against gaming.

Supervisor Robert Norvel says they are still examining the possibility of gaming in the county, but it's not just the vote, the Choctaws can only transform land into a casino if the U.S. Department of the Interior signs off on the project.