Diamondhead Casino Corp. plan back in play
By Dwayne Bremer
Apr 4, 2014, 20:07
The Diamondead Casino Corp. has a new chairman and local leaders said this week, they hope the company will soon move forward with plans to bring a casino to the city.
Diamondhead Casino Corp., (DHCC) formerly Casino World, owns about 400 acres of land south and west of the city.
Company officials have been talking about building a casino on the property for more than a decade; however, that has not happened yet.
DHCC is a different group than the Jacobs Entertainment group, which last year unsuccessfully attempted to get city leaders to change zoning near the Harbor House.
DHCC's property is located east of the proposed Jacobs site and is already zoned for casino development.
Unlike the Jacobs site, the DHCC site is not in a residential area.
The company announced Wednesday that longtime chairman Deborah Vitale will be stepping down and former MTR Gaming Group Chairman Ted Arneault will become the company's new chairman.
Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer said Thursday that he and Arneault have had several conversations recently and there is "mutual interest" in bringing a casino to the city.
"They (DHCC) wanted to know if I would be receptive to their development and I said that I'm willing to help," Schafer said. "My ears are open and we will listen, but most of all, I am ready for action."
According to press release from DHCC issued this week, the company said it intends to build a casino on the property.
"I believe the Diamondhead site remains one of the last, great gaming opportunities in the country," Arneault said in the press release. "The site is recognized in the casino industry as one that is expected to grow the entire Gulf Coast market because of its sheer size and the numerous amenities it could support. I am looking forward to working with the state of Mississippi and the city of Diamondhead to create a destination resort that will bring economic benefits to the entire state as well as the city. This is a unique opportunity to be associated with a project that has the potential to become a major tourist attraction on the Gulf Coast and one of the premier resort locations in the casino industry."
With limited areas for commercial growth in the city, a casino would be a huge boost to the city's tax coffers, officials said.
Schafer said he hopes the project moves forward.
"I think that many of the residents on the south side would support this project," he said. "The may only be in the early stages, but at least things are moving.