Two new casinos are in the works on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. MPB’s Evelina Burnett looks at whether the coast gaming market is ready for them.
Tuesday morning, plans for a new $265 million Foxwoods Casino Resort in east Biloxi were announced. Tuesday afternoon, the Gulfport city council approved a long-term lease for a harbor casino. There are already 12 casinos on the Mississippi coast. Is there room for two more?
"There’s gaming everywhere nowadays, if you take a look at it across the board," says Alan Silver, a casino expert and assistant professor at Ohio University. "Competition in Alabama, surrounding areas. Louisiana. The market on the Mississippi Gulf Coast has not shown a great deal of growth, if you're going to be realistic about it and look at the numbers over the long run."
Silver adds that by 2019, when Foxwoods is slated to open in Biloxi, there’s a possibility that Georgia may have gaming, further heightening competition.
But Chris Ferrara, the managing member of the local development group behind Foxwoods Resort Casino at Biloxi Pointe, says his new property will be able to grow the local market.
"That's why strategicially we joined in partnership with Foxwoods Resort Casino," he says. "Foxwoods is one of the largest casinos in north America that has a tremendous database of people from the northeast. So we will bring folks, and we will expand the gaming with the amenities and the new people who will come to Biloxi who have never been."
The next steps for Foxwoods Biloxi are to finish the design and get final approval from the gaming commission. The Gulfport harbor casino will need gaming commission approval for the site and project.