BILOXI, MS - The Mississippi Band of Choctaws plan to build a casino in Jackson County was rejected last week by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The $375 million casino was to be built at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Mississippi 57.
In a decision that virtually ends the project, the Bureau of Indian Affairs wrote the tribe to explain a new policy for off-reservation casinos. If the distance from a reservation to a casino site cannot be an unreasonable commute because it may encourage tribal members to leave their reservation and live closer to their job opportunities. In this case the Choctaw reservation near Philadelphia, MS is 175 miles from the proposed casino site. The federal government decided this was excessive and reject the tribe's application.
In a nonbinding referendum last November the residents of Jackson County voted against the proposed casino. The vote was approximately 60% against and 40% in favor.
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