Mississippi Lawmakers Look into Rules for Coastal Casinos

Coastal casino sites in Mississippi are once again in the sights of lawmakers, after a recent controversial project approval. RW Development, a company planning to build a casino on US 90 and Veterans Avenue in Biloxi, Mississippi, has been trying to secure approval from the gambling regulator in the state, the Mississippi Gaming Commission, for years.

After three unsuccessful attempts, RW Development secured site approval from the Commission in December. This was achieved after the company was allowed to build a pier at the end of Veterans Avenue. This strategic move enabled the company to secure the site approval from the gambling regulator. But the controversial approval captured the attention of lawmakers in the state, who filed a new bill that seeks to clear any inconsistencies and concerns in case other casino operators are interested in securing sites near the waterfront.

As announced by Sun Herald, the state’s legislators are currently reviewing a bill that seeks to clarify and change different provisions, ensuring clear rules are set for casinos interested in investments related to the state’s tidelands. Ultimately, the proposal seeks to outline a specific framework for the gambling regulator in cases similar to the recently approved license for RW Developments.

The proposal reiterates the currently established rules for casino projects on the state’s tidelands that require a minimum of 40,000 square feet of casino gaming space, along with restaurants and a minimum of 300 hotel rooms. Moreover, under the existing laws in Mississippi, such casino projects must boost the local economy and tourism as well.

Consistent Regulations to Protect the Environment, Encourage Investments

Under the proposal, SB 2780, Mississippi lawmakers seek to set clear lines when it comes to the authority of the state over Public Trust Tidelands. The proposal seeks to make phl63 it mandatory for casino licensees interested in tidelands projects to secure a tidelands lease via the secretary of state. Such licenses can also be subject to rent payable on an annual basis. The bill also seeks to clarify rules for cases related to Tidelands casino licenses that would not require annual rent.

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The proposed bill is sponsored by the Senate Gaming Committee’s chairman, Sen. David Blount. “I am working with the Secretary of State’s office and every Coast casino operator on the bill,” he explained in a recent interview for Sun Herald. Additionally, Blount pointed out: “Now more than ever, we need to restore a consistent regulatory environment to preserve the sand beach and encourage further investment and improvements in the Coast casino market.”

Besides Sen. Blount, SB 2780 is sponsored by the Gaming Committee’s members, Jeremy England and Bryce Wiggins, along with Senators Philman Ladner and Mike Thompson.