MS gaming board approves casino regulation changes Díhead opposed
By Dwayne Bremer
Feb 22, 2013, 21:23
The Mississippi Gaming Commission on Thursday approved a series of changes to its licensing and application regulations; however, the changes were not as drastic as Diamondhead officials had feared.
The gaming commission had asked for the changes to try to bring "higher quality" casinos to the state, officials said.
Earlier this week, the Diamondhead City Council approved a letter opposing the proposed changes, saying they could potentially hurt smaller market's abilities to attract a casino.
Long Beach city officials filed a similar objection.
Chief among the complaints was a proposal that any new casino have a four-star hotel on the Forbes list in place prior to construction.
The gaming commission changed the four-star requirement and lowered it to an " AAA three-diamond" hotel with a 300-room or more capacity.
Gaming commission officials were also quoted as saying the 300-room requirement was only a "guideline."
Diamondhead Mayor Chuck Ingraham spoke at the meeting and asked the commission to consider the smaller markets.
Ingraham said Friday that the commission's ruling should not hinder a possible casino in Diamondhead in the future.
"I think it went fairly well," Ingraham said. "The new regulations are fairly reasonable."
Likewise, Long Beach Ward One Alderman Gary Ponthieux said Friday he did not have a problem with most of the changes.
"I like the idea of a three-diamond hotel," he said. "The thing we were concerned about was our area and location. We are the Gulf Coast. We are not New York City or Las Vegas."
Over the past decade, several companies have looked into the possibility of putting a casino in Diamondhead.
One company, Diamondhead Casino Corp. has spent the past few years looking for investors for a casino project. Another company, Jacobs Entertainment, was poised to go forward with a casino project in 2009 before being shot down by the Hancock County Board of Supervisors.
Since incorporating in 2012, Diamondhead has created and approved its own zoning.
Any future casino plans will now have to be presented to the city, rather than the supervisors.