Long Beach Residents Vote For Gaming - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Long Beach Residents Vote For Gaming

The votes are in, and for the first time, Long Beach voters have spoken out in favor of gaming in their city.

Tuesday's vote was much closer than past referendums on the matter - 2,179 people voted for gaming, while 1,801 people voted against it.

The non-binding referendum asked "Are you 'for' or 'against' land based gaming in Long Beach, north of Highway 90, across from the harbor?"

Before Katrina, the property immediately north of the harbor had a K-Mart and a Save-A-Center on it. Former alderman Jimmy Levens has an option on the land in question, and the city let his group pay for the Tuesday referendum.

Because the vote is non-binding, the results are nothing more than a survey. Aldermen can make future casino decisions based on the final tally, or they can make up their own minds.

Before the votes were counted on Tuesday, Long Beach's mayor told WLOX News he had heard just about enough casino talk.

"For the city's sake, it's time to get this finished," Billy Skellie said.

Last Thursday and Friday, Skellie attended special meetings called by two aldermen. Both meetings were set up to try and cancel the vote. Both meetings fell apart when not enough aldermen showed up.

The mayor seemed glad it was finally election day, because in his mind, the city had to move past the political bickering, and beyond the polarizing casino issue, so hurricane recovery could become a top priority again.

"We need to address each issue fresh and open minded and move on. We have much to tend to to recover," Skellie said. "We have other business is what I'm saying. We have to move along."

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