Developers want to build Vicksburg gaming house

Vicksburg – Mississippi Bluffs Development LLC, headed in part by Denver developer Paul Bunge of Silver Tip of Mississippi LLC, has applied for a state gaming license to build a 50,000-square-foot casino in Vicksburg.

In the application to the Mississippi Gaming Commission, the company estimates having 1,500 slot machines and 35 table games in a casino on one of four parcels of land formerly occupied by a now-defunct chemical company.

The development group has been involved in cleaning up the former Vicksburg Chemical site.

The parcel is on the west side of Warrenton Road, and like three of the four existing casinos in Vicksburg, borders the Mississippi River.

The developer and city officials also have talked about building a championship golf course and residential retail space on the 480-acre tract along Rifle Range Road between Interstate 20 and an east-west portion of U.S. 61.

Bunge did not immediately return telephone calls for comment, but the casino intent is documented in legal advertisements and by the commission’s agenda.

In December, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality signed an agreement for Silver Tip to spend USD 8 million to clean up the land abandoned to state ownership when the Memphis chemical firm declared bankruptcy.

The tract includes property on both sides of Warrenton Road south of the Mississippi River bridges. Most of it is hilly land and wooded, with only a portion on Rifle Range Road used as a plant site starting in the 1950s. The land includes sites where toxic waste was buried when that was legal and other contaminated portions.

The project joins two other proposed casinos that are further along the licensing process.

Lakes Gaming Mississippi LLC obtained initial site approval in February 2005 and had its development plan approved in July 2005. Lakes Entertainment of Minnesota plans for that casino to be built on pilings along the Mississippi River.

Initially, the project was expected to cost about USD 200 million.

The other project, Magnolia Hill LLC, is expected to go before the commission next month to change its trade name to Riverwalk Casino from its original name, Pot of Gold Casino and Magnolia Hills Resort, commission chairman Larry Gregory said.