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Developers of a 2nd Coast casino miss financing deadline

Casino_rouletter_wheel-RGBMISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — Developers of two proposed casinos for the Mississippi Gulf Coast have missed deadlines to secure financing to build their projects.

Tuesday, Rotate Black, which has a site approval at the Gulfport Harbor to build the $112 million Hemingway Casino failed to meet the 5 p.m. deadline.

Monday, developers for the Scarlet Pearl casino in D’Iberville missed their deadline to secure financing for the $250 million project.

“It’s a firm deadline,” said Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission. “At this time, no extensions are being entertained.”

Both casinos must go back through the entire review process with the Gaming Commission and meet the new, more stringent development requirements.

Scarlet Pearl may qualify under the new rules because it has the required 300 hotel rooms, along with an elaborate 36-hole miniature golf course, an event center and other amenities.

To be regain approval, Rotate Black must now abide by new regulations that went into effect Jan. 1. The casino will have to increase its gaming area by 5,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet and add 95 hotel rooms to comply with the 300-room minimum requirement.

The Gulfport casino would have been based on the life of author Ernest Hemingway.

“A Hemingway or similar theme at the Gulfport Harbor is a viable project,” John Hairston, chairman of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, told The Sun Herald.

“I hope someone will step forward with the financial wherewithal to build a casino resort at this excellent site. The bulk of the work is already done and could easily be augmented to put forth a project compliant with the new regulations,” he said.”

Godfrey said the ability to get financing to build casinos apparently is still challenging, “based on the fact that these projects have not come to fruition.”

Godfrey said while site approval still stands, developers will have to go back through the review process to prove they can finance the new casino to the Gaming Commission.

D’Iberville has worked for more than 20 years to get a casino and City Manager Bobby Eleuterius said yesterday, “I’m very, very disappointed.”

He said the city remains ready to assist the developer in any way.

“The project brings a lot to the city,” Eleuterius said. Along with the hundreds of jobs the casino would create, he said the developers intend to lease land from the school district.

When the Gaming Commission gave the developers permission to proceed in December, it was with the April 1 deadline to finalize financing and pay outstanding balances.



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