Trial date set for casino’s tax-protest hearing

VICKSBURG — Ameristar Casino’s protests over Warren County property tax levies for 2012 and 2013 will be heard Oct. 14 in Warren County Circuit Court.

The Vicksburg Post reports the separate lawsuits filed by the casino have been combined by Circuit Judge M. James Chaney.

The Ameristar claims in the most recent of the two cases, filed Jan. 4, that its taxes on real and personal property are too high by more than $1 million.

Ameristar said in court documents that its property tax bill in 2012 was more than $3 million. The casino said it argues the figure would be $1.58 million if the county’s assessments per gaming position were equalized among Vicksburg’s four operating casinos.

In 2010, the county and the casino settled a yearlong lawsuit over the property’s 2009 tax bill. The result split the difference in how the company’s Vicksburg properties were valued before and after multimillion-dollar expansions in 2008.

Ameristar said its casino-hotel is assessed at about $88,000 per gaming position, while Riverwalk was assessed at $49,000 per position. Lady Luck and DiamondJacks, the city’s other two operating casinos, were not mentioned in the suit.

Chaney has ordered a backup trial date for Jan. 13, 2014, if he is not finished with other trials scheduled for October.

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