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Controversial Bill Will Limit Casinos to 7 Counties

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February 1, 2008

JACKSON, MS - The Senate Finance Committee approved a bill yesterday to limit casinos to only those counties where casinos already exist. The bill will now be sent it on for debate in the full Senate.

Under the current state law, casinos are allowed in the three coastal counties and in counties along the Mississippi River. The new legislation would restrict casinos to the coastal counties of Harrison and Hancock and the Mississippi River counties of Adams, Coahoma, Tunica, Warren and Washington.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians are excluded from the legislation. The tribe has been interested in building a casino resort near I-10 in Jackson County.

"To my knowledge, there's not been any great enthusiasm for any of those casinos to come into those counties anyway," said committee chairman Senator Dean Kirby, R-Pearl. "Evidently, the people of Mississippi feel like we have enough counties with casinos."

The chief author of the bill is Sen. Lee Yancey, R-Brandon, who said "This has been a concern for a lot of people who do not desire to see casinos come to their part of the state. This basically clarifies the law and answers the question of where exactly a casino can build. This limits the expansion to the counties that currently exist. But this will help the casinos that are already established by not allowing the market to be saturated, too."

Governor Haley Barbour is opposed to the expansion of gaming into counties that do not want it.

Return to Mississippi Casinos.

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