Senate approves bill to limit casinos

The Senate today approved a bill that would limit casinos to the counties where they are already operating.

Senate Bill 2199 passed 36-14.

“After 15 or 16 years of legalized gaming, every county along the (Mississippi) river or the coast has had ample opportunity to approve it,” said Sen. Lee Yancey, R-Brandon, principle author of the bill.

Under current state statute, casinos are allowed in the three coastal counties and in counties along the Mississippi River.

Five of the 11 river counties have casinos including Adams, Coahoma, Tunica, Warren and Washington. On the Gulf Coast, Harrison and Hancock counties allow the facilities, but in Jackson County voters have twice turned down the gaming industry.

The bill now moves to the House Gaming Committee.

Sen. Vincent Davis, D-Fayette, said Claiborne County officials are “actively seeking” a casino to be built within county limits.

Yancey says he has also met with Claiborne County officials and that they are not recruiting the gaming industry.