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Mississippi Senate Approves Bill to Limit Casino Sites

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February 6, 2006

JACKSON, MS - The state senate voted 36-14 to limit casinos to counties that already have them.

Senate Bill 2199 would prohibit future casinos from being built in counties that do not already have voter approval. It excludes Indian casinos since they operate on sovereign land and are regulated by federal law.

Sen. Vincent Davis, D-Fayette, tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill and allow counties that had voted for casinos, but had not yet built any. Davis cited Claiborne County as one where voters approved casinos in the early 1990s, but none have been built. He was told local officials were still pursuing one.

Sen. Tommy Moffatt, R-Gautier, voted for the bill. He said Jackson County has voted on casino referendums in two elections and both times they were disapproved. The latest was last November when voters rejected a Choctaw Indian casino planned near the intersection of Mississippi 57 and Interstate 10.

The bill must be sent to the House, which is considering a related bill to prevent inland casino development in the event U.S. 90 is moved north of its current location in Harrison County. That bill is not yet scheduled for a vote.

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