Mississippi Casino Fights Port Plans

Casino expansion plans in Mississippi have hit a roadblock with local commissioners. Plans by Island View Casino to expand its casino and retain its luxurious view and setting on the water in Gulfport, Mississippi, have run afoul of plans to expand the city’s port in the same area, west of the existing port.

At a closed-door meeting of the State Port Authority, executives from Island View Casino were lambasted by port commissioners, who felt the casino company had tried to use newspaper and television coverage to pull an end-run around the port’s plans. Comissioners claimed their plans had been leaked by the casino, a claim denied by the casino’s represenatives and lawyers.

Beachfront property which presently allows for viewing of the Gulf of Mexico and Cat Island from the casino would be replaced by the indutrial sight of barges and shipping containers if the port expanded westward.

The casino has suggested that the port expand southerly instead, but port officials say the nature of the channel and water depth issues render this solution problematic.

The Island View Casino is on land, rather than floating on barges, as allowed by recent changes in Mississippi laws. The newer laws stipulate that casinos located within three hundred feet of water are qualified as being on water, as the original law required. Because of the change, there are debates all along the state’s coastline as to the relative value of casinos in relation to the traditional shrimping, canning, and shipping indutries.

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