LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - People who call Long Beach home are still wondering if their city will be getting its first casino after a meeting of the state gaming commission at city hall Thursday. On the agenda was the approval for beachfront property as a legal gaming site, but the answer never came, at least not yet.
The property where Long Beach Harbor Resort wants to build a multi-million dollar casino is right off U.S. 90, just west of Cleveland Avenue. Plans include a hotel, 40,000 square feet of gaming space, restaurants and non-gaming amenities.
Not everyone wants to see a casino in the quiet town.
“I believe that a casino in a small-town environment is a big old classified ad for crime and prostitution," said Teri Gautier. "I think it’s a big expense to the city to continue to keep its citizens safe.”
Others, like business owner Jeff Hansen, welcome any new development.
“We’re not an industrialized city, so small business or resort opportunities would be very beneficial to the city," he said.
Following the hour-long meeting, commissioners voted to table the matter.
“I think it’s a matter of looking into the details of it and being very confident that we’re doing the right thing," said chairman Al Hopkins.
Mayor George Bass, who wants to see a casino come to town, along with the revenue and jobs that would he said will come with it, took the vote in stride.
“I want them to be thorough with their decision. I want them to be well informed with their decision. We’ve waited here for a number of years so what if we have to wait another month or two. We’re patient," he said.
The attorney for the company Michael Cavanaugh felt the same way.
“The next step is to hear back from the gaming commission, We anticipate that at the end of the day they will approve it, and wait till then," Cavanaugh said.
While the gaming commission ultimately voted to table the decision on site approval at Thursday’s meeting, they also felt it was important to hear from both sides of the issue: those for a casino and those against.
“I think it’s the right thing to do for us to have both sides voicing their positions and that’s what we did. I think that’s fair for the community," Hopkins said.
At this time, it’s not known when the matter will come up again before the commission. It could happen at next month’s meeting, or even after the first of the year.