Mississippi Reps to Kill Jackson Casino Bill Amid Weak Support

Mississippi gambling enthusiasts are out of luck as Republican representatives decided not to put forward a bill that would have allowed a casino in Jackson. According to them, the bill lacked sufficient support but that doesn’t mean things won’t change in the future.

Committee Chair Trey Lamar, who filed the bill Monday, explained that representatives of the Republican Party privately discussed the matter and concluded that the bill would not be able to gain enough votes. However, Lamar added that those who hope to see a casino in Jackson shouldn’t give up just yet.

For reference, Mississippi currently allows commercial casinos to only be constructed on the Gulf Coast or along the Mi lodivip ssissippi River. Currently, there are 12 casinos on the Gulf Coast and 14 along the Mississippi River. In addition to commercial properties, there are also three tribal casinos operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians across the state.

Lamar’s bill would have changed that, creating opportunities for investment in gaming right in the heart of the state. Under his bill, an existing licensed operator would have been allowed to construct and operate a casino in the Mississippi capital, only 1 mile away from the Capitol building.

A New Casino Would Disrupt the Power Balance

For reference, Mississippi’s House is currently dominated by the Republicans. However, the Democratic Party has a lot of members who are opposed to the opening of a casino in Jackson, citing economic concerns.

Rep. Robert Johnson, leader of the House Democrats, believes that a casino in Jackson would disrupt the power balance, hurting Mississippi River casinos. This sentiment was echoed by Democratic Rep. Oscar Denton and Republican Rep. Kevin Ford, who said that their city of Vicksburg would likely get the worst of it.

Vicksburg, for reference, houses the nearest casino to Jackson.

Johnson explained that coastal casinos will likely adapt but “there is no way anybody else could survive” the opening of a casino in the Mississippi capital.

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Speaking of coastal casinos, Mississippi’s Senate recently approved the Tidelands Bill, which came as a response to the controversial approval of RW Development’s casino in Biloxi. The measure, however, raised concerns among coastal leaders and the future of local casinos.