The casino industry in Biloxi, Mississippi dates back to the early 1990s. Waterfront areas near the Gulf of Mexico were transformed. What was once shrimping cocks and abandoned seafood factories became prime real estate. Will the East Biloxi casino project be able to secure tax breaks in order to move forward?
The first casinos featured riverboat gambling. Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, this area was transformed once again. Part of those plans included a $1 billion East Biloxi casino resort on the former Tivoli Hotel site in East Biloxi.
Will The East Biloxi Casino Project Get A Tax Break?
It has taken 13 years to move the process forward. However, current developers are banking on major tax breaks to attract bigger investors. The goal is to raise enough capital for a $700 million hotel, casino, and conference center.
A proposal on the table is looking for the following concessions from the Biloxi Council:
- A 50 percent cut of the ad valorem tax on the new construction.
- 10 percent revenue share with the city on casino license fees.
Each of these incentives would remain on the books for a period of five years. Also involved in the decision-making process is Harrison County supervisors.
As a way to finance another potential casino deal, the Biloxi Council will consider a TIF. This is a tax increment financing bond. This TIF would be up to $78 million to cover the cost of infrastructure improvements. This is for the proposed Broadwater Casino in the western part of town.
The new Trivoli resort is backed by Biloxi Capital. This company is fronted by Danny Conwill as a local developer. The 30-acre site has remained vacant since Katrina devastated this area 15 years ago.
The Biloxi Capital proposal calls for a 1,300-room hotel. The conference center would occupy 100,000 square feet of space. The original price tag for the project started at $400 million. Changes and additions have expanded the cost to today’s $700 million price tag.
The actual property was purchased at the time for $40 million. However, it was not an approved casino site. In November of last year, Biloxi Capital announced its intent for a casino. This initiated the approval process.
More recently, issues with the Mississippi Gaming Commission and Harrison County remain. They both contend that the US. 90 property is not a legal site. The state Supreme Court ruled in their favor earlier this month.
It is now obvious that site approval from the Gaming Commission is vital to the casino project. Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo’ Gilich has voiced his concerns with the current situation. Going back to 2007, the casino project never took the proper steps for commission approval.
As far as the other casino project, the Biloxi Council did approve a tourism tax rebate for Broadwater Casino. The cost of that project has been set at $1.2 billion. The groups behind that plan are Dakia Global U-Ventures along with Universal Music Group. The latter is the largest music company in the world.
Indeed, the plans call for a UMUSIC Resort. However, with tax breaks for an East Biloxi casino. Furthermore, this adds more than 2,500 new full jobs. Also, even more part-time jobs.
• Source: A $700 million East Biloxi casino is back on the table. Will city OK tax breaks? from Sunherald.com On December 11, 2020.