Secretary of State Hosemann Opposed Proposed Change to Rule 1.4

By Mary Perez

On the agenda for Thursday’s Mississippi Gaming Commission meeting in Jackson is a proposal to change casino regulations regarding the 800-foot rule that allowed casinos onshore after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

Al Hopkins, Gaming Commission chairman, said the changes will bring casino regulations in line with the law. It would eliminate the requirement that a developer own the property all the way to the water, so casinos could be built in many sites where they now are prohibited.

“I’m going to oppose it on behalf of the state of Mississippi,” Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann told the Sun Herald on Wednesday.

The change would cost $10 million a year in Tidelands money, Hosemann said, which funds piers and other waterfront projects in South Mississippi.

“I see no reason to have (casinos) sprinkled across the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the highest and best use (of the land).”

The Gaming Commission already has received notice Jacobs Entertainment plans to return with its application to build a casino in Diamondhead. The Gaming Commission had turned the company down because the site didn’t have frontage directly on the Bay of St. Louis.

The public will have 25 days to comment on the changes.