State Supreme Court sides with Long Beach casino developer in Tidelands dispute

The property where Long Beach Harbor Resort wants to build a multi-million dollar casino is...
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. The developer and and the Secretary of State’s office have been engaged in a years long battle over the specifics of a Tidelands lease.(WLOX)
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 3:06 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2022 at 3:07 PM CDT
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LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - The Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Long Beach casino project.

Long Beach Harbor Resort, LLC and the Secretary of State’s office have been engaged in a years long battle over the specifics of a Tidelands lease.

Developer Jim Parrish wants to build a $180 million casino resort on property north of Highway 90, across from the Long Beach Harbor. The project would feature a 300-room hotel, three restaurants, and 40,000 square feet of gaming space. It received site approval from the Mississippi Gaming Commission in January 2019.

The dispute the court just resolved was over a section of land south of Hwy 90 to be used by the resort for parking or other non-gaming assets. It’s crucial because that property connects the gaming operation north of Hwy 90 to the mean high water line, a regulatory requirement from the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

Since 2010, the resort has had a lease with the City of Long Beach’s Port Commission for that property. And the intentions for the land were clear. The lease stated that it was the express “intention of the parties that the Lease Premise may be used in connection with a gaming establishment, but that no actual gaming activities shall be conducted or permitted south of U.S. Highway 90.”

In 2011, the Secretary of State and the City negotiated and resolved their dispute over the Tidelands in question with the Tidelands Lease and Boundary Agreement. And it’s that agreement that the court ruled ratified the prior Resort Lease.

Secretary of State Michael Watson released a statement about the decision, saying, “The Supreme Court’s decision today is narrowly tailored to decades-old agreements between the City of Long Beach and Long Beach Harbor Resort, as well as the agreements between the City and the State of Mississippi. We will honor the court’s ruling.”

As for what’s next for the Long Beach casino development, the gaming commission must still approve financing plans and make sure the proposal meets standards before any construction can start.

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