Grand seeks to move gaming north of U.S. 90

Operators of Grand Casino are on track to become the first casino operators in Biloxi to request a zoning change to take advantage of post-Katrina laws allowing shore-based gaming.

A request by the Grand and property owners Mavar Inc. and Mastar Inc. to change the zoning for 8.62 acres of land – north of U.S. 90 between Oak and Pine streets – from B3 hospitality business to waterfront gaming is among the issues on the agenda for the City Council meeting on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

Two other operators, the Isle of Capri and Palace Casino, opened temporary gaming facilities in existing water-side hotels, which did not require zoning changes.

The Planning Commission earlier this month recommended approval of the Grand’s request, which would allow the Grand to house a temporary gaming facility in its Bayview Hotel and Convention Center, which is on the 8.6-acre site north of U.S. 90..

“Ever since the state passed the 800-foot rule in the wake of the storm, I’ve consistently said that requests for zoning changes would be driven by the private sector, not the city, and they’d go through the established process,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said. “That’s what you’re seeing here. At the same time, I’m certainly pleased with the commitment that Grand has made in Biloxi, in terms of both job creation and enhancing our tax base.”

Holloway had revealed months ago that executives with Harrah’s, Grand’s parent firm, were excited by the opportunities in Biloxi, particularly with the state’s approval of legislation allowing gaming within 800 feet from the shore.

Grand’s plans for its property south of U.S. 90 would be addressed in a future Master Plan Update, according to the proposed ordinance on the council agenda.

To read the zoning measure on Tuesday’s agenda,
click here.

To read the entire City Council agenda and available resolutions,
click here.

News and notes

Gaming figures: Speaking of casino gaming in Biloxi, the three casinos operating in Biloxi generated gross gaming revenues of $63.5 million in March. To see details of the city’s revenue figures, and a breakdown on state’s monthly gaming-tax collections,
click here.

Flood and storm info: Owners of flood-prone property in Biloxi will soon be receiving storm and flood preparedness information from the city. The second of three annual newsletters about the dangers of flooding and storms is now in production. To see the advice on how you can prepare – as well as the newsletters mailed in 2005 –
click here.