Sunday, May 27, 2018
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The Tunica Times • P.O. Box 308/986 Magnolia Street, Tunica, MS 38676

Slot parlor meets resistance

State and local officials are opposing a move by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians to open a slot parlor in rural Jones County, according to a press statement issued July 15 by Governor Haley Barbour.
The MCBI has begin construction on a site at Sandersville in Southeast Mississippi, without securing necessary environmental certifications and public health and safety clearances, Barbour said. {paypalaccess}Read more{/paypalaccess}

“...I am opposed to the recent decision by the leaders of the MBCI to move forward with these plans to expand gaming onto tribal lands for the reasons I have mentioned, especially since the Tribe has done little or nothing to identify environmental, public health and safety issues in the area, much less address them,” Barbour said.
The Jones County Board of Supervisors also opposes the tribe’s plans for a metal building on the site housing slot machines and a snack bar.
Other state officials, such as Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman and State Auditor Stacey Pickering have joined Barbour in appealing to the MBCI to halt construction and complete the necessary regulatory process.
Barbour also asked Tracie Stevens, Chairman of the Indian Gaming Commission in Washington to stop work on the project.
“Casinos regulated by the Mississippi Gaming Commission are required to offer amenities that contribute to the economic well-being of the community in which it is located,” Barbour wrote.
“The Choctaw-owned Pearl River Resort...confirms to that state policy; the resort includes two casinos, along with multiple restaurants, two golf course, spa facilities and a water park.
“These amenities have enhanced the economic vitality of the Tribe and Neshoba County and are consistent with other gaming developments in Mississippi.
“The pre-fabricated metal building with slots and snacks conflicts with what every Governor of this state has advocated since gaming was legalized: using gaming as an economic development tool, not a drain on the local economy.”
Barbour also pointed out to Stevens that the Tribal Council split 8-7 on the decision to go ahead with the project.
“Clearly, many on the Tribal Council do not believe that this slot parlor would promote the welfare of the Tribe and its members or further tribal economic development, which is required by IGRA,” Barbour said.
Indian casinos are not regulated by the state, and neither the state nor counties receive taxes from Indian gaming.

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