Supreme Court Rules Casino Can't Locate On Big Black River - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Supreme Court Rules Casino Can't Locate On Big Black River

The Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled that casinos can not be located on the Big Black River that runs between Hinds and Warren counties.

The 5-to-3 decision sides with gaming regulators. It reverses a 1997 ruling by former Hinds County Circuit Judge L. Breland Hilburn in favor of the casino.

Vicksburg leaders have battled for several years with a casino company and property owner over the proposed race track and casino on the Big Black, which branches off from the Mississippi River. State law allows casinos in Gulf Coast and Mississippi River counties that have approved gambling.

The city of Vicksburg and its casinos opposed a Big Black site on grounds it would intercept a major portion of gamblers out of Jackson.

Landowner E.L. Pennebaker sued less than two weeks after the Gaming Commission denied site approval to Horseshoe Gaming on December 16th, 1996.

In writing the court's decision Justice Kay Cobb says that even though the Gaming Commission did not decide whether the Big Black site was legal, the commission did decide that the site was unsuitable for a casino.

Dissenting Judge Oliver Diaz wrote that the Gaming Commission's decision appeared to rest solely on the economic impact to Vicksburg. Diaz said if the Big Black site had been considered on its merits, the casino should have been approved.

Online Producer Glenn Cummins

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