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Potential casinos in D'Iberville, Diamondhead await Gaming Commission rulings

Casino_rouletter_wheel RGBTwo new potential Gulf Coast casinos hope to take their next steps toward reality Thursday at the 9 a.m. monthly meeting of the Mississippi Gaming Commission in Jackson.

Developers of the Scarlet Pearl Casino in D’Iberville, hope to receive approval to begin construction on a site east of the I-110 bridge across the Back Bay from Biloxi.

In Diamondhead, Jacobs Entertainment is seeking site approval to build a $150 million casino resort on land the company owns at the old Harbor House Apartments.

“The Scarlet Pearl has been before us a few times, and this is another attempt to get their financing in order,” said Alan Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission. “And I believe they may have accomplished that this time.”

Casino approval expired on March 31 when developers, Land Holdings I, missed their financing deadline. If financing is approved Thursday, construction on the $250 million, 300-room casino can begin immediately.

Regulations adopted last year by the Gaming Commission require new casinos meet minimum specifications – which Scarlet Pearl does — and bring a new amenity to the area. Scarlet Pearl plans to meet that requirement with an upscale miniature golf course, much like the popular Track family recreation center in Destin, Fla., and Gulf Shores, Ala. The Track includes miniature golf, go-karts, bumper rides, and bungee.

“The tourism committee listed that as one of those family things that has not come back to the coast,” said Godfrey.

Jacobs Entertainment is hoping its site meets requirements of the 800-foot rule, implemented by the Legislature after Hurricane Katrina to allow casinos to build 800 feet inland instead of offshore. At issue is exactly where the 800 foot mark begins on the Bay of St. Louis.

No other plans or amenity proposals are expected to be discussed at the meeting.

“I have not seen any of their plans,” said Godfrey. “This is just to determine if the site is legal.”

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