Casino seeks OK for new site

Harrison County – A new casino could open in western Harrison County if Blue Water Bay Resort and Casino gets the blessing of the Mississippi Gaming Commission on Thursday.

The site on the east side of Bay St. Louis between Pass Christian and DeLisle was previously approved by the Gaming Commission.

Now that onshore casinos are permitted within 800 feet of the mean high water line, the developers, Southern Gaming Thrills LLC, will go before the commission with a different site plan. The meeting is 9 a.m. Thursday at the commission’s office in Jackson.

„It’s going to be more of a resort property that will feature gaming,“ said John C. Ellis III, a real estate developer and native of Pass Christian. The plans call for a walkable, full planned community on 438 acres, four miles off Interstate 10 and two miles from U.S. 90. It will include 100,000 square feet of casino space with 50 table games and 2,000 slot machines.

The other principals of Southern Gaming Thrills are Patrick Minchey of Las Vegas and George Burkhardt of Gulfport, both former top executives with Grand Casinos.
„It’s going to be a green development,“ Ellis said, that will preserve wetlands and use green building techniques.

The site is in an unincorporated area, seven-tenths of a mile from First Baptist Church DeLisle and 1.6 miles from DeLisle Elementary School. If the site is approved, the developers plan to immediately hold workshops with the county.

„It will really help all of western Harrison County come back after Hurricane Katrina,“ Ellis said.

Also on the Gaming Commission’s agenda for Thursday is a request from developers of South Beach Casino to re-examine its denial of the casino site in Biloxi. The commission also will be asked to reconsider the executive director’s decision to pay a player USD 527,139.25, the amount the slot machine indicated he won at the Beau Rivage Casino, or the USD 50,000 the machine’s payoff schedule said he was entitled to win.