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Natchez casino developers hope deal reached with city by April 7

We’ve written a couple stories recently about the stalled casino project on Natchez’s famed Roth Hill.

In early February, Natchez aldermen determined via 5-1 vote that the developers had failed to comply with the terms of the lease option agreement that was forged three years ago — namely, that they had failed to show sufficient progress on the project. In reality, there has been little tangible progress made since February 2008, only planning and design work.

Included in the failure-to-comply resolution was a letter from the city to Premier Gaming Group, the Lane Company and Natchez Enterprises that gave them until April 7 to come into compliance.

We’ve been trying to nail down an interview with Kevin Preston, president of Premier Gaming, for nearly a month now. We’ve traded emails, but getting him on the phone has been, well, a challenge. In one of the emails he sent in response to an interview request, Preston said he understood the frustration city officials felt, adding that Premier Gaming had no intention of abandoning the $45 million project, which they’ve been working on for two years after Lane and Natchez Enterprises brought the Kentucky-based company on board to revive the project. It had stalled in 2008 as the recession spread. “Our goal is to finalize funding and construct a first-class gaming facility Natchez can be proud of,” Preston wrote.

In another email Preston sent yesterday, he said he had actually been in Natchez the past few days, and was confident that a resolution would be reached by April 7, the deadline set in the letter.

What kind of agreement he’s talking about is anybody’s guess.

  1. Rwolf
    April 1st, 2011 at 15:16 | #1

    Government Blind To collateral Economic Damage/Social Demoralization Cause By Gambling Casinos.

    It is a bad bet for local communities and states to rely on gaming to pay their bureaucrats’ salaries and budget deficits. I know, because I live in Nevada. Casinos can prove to be a net financial and motivational loss to communities; gambling losses do not contribute to local community businesses, do not create well paying jobs; gambling profits go to casino owners, which most live far away. Few people win, most lose repeatedly and can’t afford it. Gambling casinos/and slot-parlors once established in a community amplify people’s gambling and other weaknesses, reinforce failure thwarting Citizens’ motivation to do things productive. States and local communities that believe gambling will provide tax revenues may be blind to the obvious collateral economic damage and resulting social demoralization gambling can cause a community e.g., gambling addiction, more foreclosures, increased crime and divorce. Gambling establishments take dollars away from strapped local businesses causing layoffs and business closures. Most often casinos are followed by, fast check operators charging huge interests and pawnshops.

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