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2019 Mississippi Milestones

We took a deeper diver into Mississippi’s milestones throughout 2019 and have listed those highlights below.

  • New Biloxi casino
    In June, the Mississippi Gaming Commission gave site approval to what will be Biloxi’s ninth casino — Biloxi House — on the site of the former Margaritaville Casino on the Back Bay. The building, off 5th Street in East Biloxi, has sat empty since Margaritaville Casino closed in 2014. The anticipated development will include a casino with 40,000 square feet of gaming space, 1,100 slot machines, and 22 table games, as well as a 300-room hotel on South Beach Boulevard.

  • Sports betting handle
    In the first 12 months sports betting has been available in the state, Mississippi has generated more than $3.6 million in tax revenue with a 10.11 hold percentage. Properties in the Gulf Coast and Tunica regions have turned $302 million in handle into $30,498,985 in gaming revenue.

  • Gross gaming revenue
    As of this writing, through October 2019, gross gaming revenue is up 3.7%, or $78 million, over the same trailing 12-month period. Excluding the increase directly attributable to sports betting, that is a 2.25% increase over the trailing 12 months.

  • New lottery president
    Thomas N. (Tom) Shaheen was hired as the president of the Mississippi Lottery Corp. Shaheen most recently worked as vice president and chief policy officer of a lottery technology company, Linq3. He was executive director of the North Carolina Education Lottery from 2005 to 2010 and before that chief executive officer of the New Mexico Lottery.

  • Eldorado purchase
    Eldorado Resorts announced plans to buy Caesars Entertainment, creating the largest gaming company in America. The proposed merger is a $17.3 billion cash and stock deal. Caesars Entertainment has two casinos in Mississippi — Harrah’s Gulf Coast in Biloxi and Horseshoe Casino in Tunica — while Eldorado Resorts has three casinos in the state: Trop Casino in Greenville, Lady Luck in Vicksburg, and Isle of Capri in Lula.

  • Lady Luck Casino purchase
    Twin River Worldwide Holdings Inc. announced in July that it had entered into an agreement to acquire the operations and real estate of Lady Luck Casino Vicksburg in Vicksburg, Mississippi, as well as another out-of-state casino, from Eldorado Resorts Inc. in a cash transaction for $230 million.

  • Mississippi Circuit Court upholds site approval denial
    In November, Special Circuit Court Judge Christopher Schmidt ruled in favor of the Mississippi Gaming Commission in its denial of site approval for developer Diamondhead Real Estate for a site near the Bay of St. Louis and developer RW Development for a casino on the Biloxi Strip at U.S. 90 and Veterans Avenue.

  • First racebook
    This past spring, just in time for the Kentucky Derby, The Palace unveiled the first racebook on Coastal Mississippi, which is hardly a surprise since the casino owners, Robert and Lawana Low, also operate a 300-acre horse farm in their hometown of Springfield, Missouri, and are prominent thoroughbred owners and breeders. Subsequently, Scarlet Pearl has opened a racebook as well.

  • Lottery up and running
    The Mississippi Lottery Corp. signed a contract with a unit of International Game Technology PLC. IGT will provide a central computer system and retailer terminals and will print scratch-off tickets. The lottery plans to sell scratch-off tickets beginning on November 25, 2019, and begin other operations, including selling tickets for multistate lotteries, in January 2020.

We’ve also taken the opportunity to round up happenings in gaming throughout the Southeast. Click here to view our rundown of the region’s gaming expansion in 2019.

© 2020 Jones Walker LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 352

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About this Author

Thomas Shepherd, Gaming Attorney, IAGA President, 2014, Jones Walker Law FIrm
Partner

Tommy Shepherd is a partner in the firm’s Business and Commercial Transactions Practice Group. As an accomplished gaming attorney, he served as President of the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA) in 2014.

Tommy represents major casino companies, Native American tribes, manufacturers, suppliers, and financial institutions regarding all matters relating to the development, financing, licensing and operation of gaming and resort facilities. His extensive experience in such matters includes public-private leases, financings, land use approvals, statutory and regulatory...

601.949.4711
Zachary Branson, Jones Walker Law Firm, Jackson, Business and Transaction Attorney
Associate

Zachary W. Branson is an associate in Jones Walker's Business & Commercial Transactions Practice Group, working in the Jackson office. Mr. Branson's practice includes commercial real estate, commercial transactions, and corporate counseling. He has experience in complex, multi-forum litigation and has represented clients in a range of industries, including construction, manufacturing, and entertainment.

Mr. Branson received his juris doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served on the Editorial Board of the Virginia Tax Review. He was also a member of the Virginia Law & Business Society and worked with the Virginia Active Angel Network (VAAN.)

601-949-4810