Biloxi Businessman Disappointed With South Beach Decision

BILOXI (WLOX) -- The Mississippi Gaming Commission's decision to reject the proposed South Beach development has raised concerns about the old Biloxi Strip. Some worry that the area near the proposed development, once known as a hot spot, will be forgotten.

Bill Mooney has owned and operated campgrounds in that area of Biloxi for much of his life.

"I've been in the campground business for 35 years. And I used to own the Biloxi Beach Campground, which was down where they were going to put this casino," Mooney said.

Mooney still runs the Southern Comfort Campground less than half a mile from the now rejected South Beach Casino Resort site. He's not happy with the gaming commission's decision.

"Veterans has been an eyesore for many years now," Mooney said. "In fact, whenever I had the Biloxi Beach Campground down there it was awful. And now they won't let us come back with something nice. That would be the greatest thing that ever happened to Biloxi, to put that complex in there."

And he doesn't understand at all the Gaming Commission's reasons for rejecting it as a lawful site for gaming.

"What difference does it make where it's at? It's still a casino. I mean if it's setting out here in the middle of the campground, you know, it's still a casino. I see no reason why it has to be so many feet from the beach. To me that's just a waste."

Mooney said if the site had been approved, he was planning to make a number of improvements to his park. But now, all that has changed.

"I don't feel like putting more money into it. I've put a lot in it already and I think if I put more money into it, I'd be going down hill."

And he believes going down hill is exactly what will continue to happen to the once thriving business district.

"We keep saying Biloxi is coming back. I don't see nothing coming back. I see us going down hill."