Secretary Of State Sides With Developer; Says Seawall Is Gaming Site's Boundary

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - There's a new twist in RW Development's quest to build a casino on the Biloxi strip. Mississippi's Secretary of State sent a letter to the gaming commission right before last Thursday's meeting that supported the developer's argument.

In a letter dated July 17, 2008, Delbert Hosemann wrote, "The Public Trust Tidelands Boundary in the area of the proposed RW Gaming site is the seawall."

That opinion contradicted the decision made by gaming commissioners last week when they rejected the Veterans Avenue location as a legal gaming site because it didn't touch the water.

Ray Woolridge heads up RW Development.

"Our position is consistent with what the intention of the law was," Woolridge said moments after reading the letter. "The Secretary of State makes it clear that the mean high water line is the seawall."

Woolridge said he was still reviewing his options. So he wouldn't elaborate on whether he would appeal the gaming commission ruling.

As for the gaming commission, chairman Jerry St. Pe' said, "We're bound to follow our regulations."

Based on what he heard, and what he read prior to last week's meeting, St. Pe' said RW Development failed to demonstrate that the seawall was the proper boundary. Despite the Secretary of State stating otherwise, St. Pe' doesn't believe the two agencies are at odds.

"The commission needs to make sure it isn't at odds with its own regulations."