Gulfport hails 'magnificent' casino location
GULFPORT, Aug 17, 2012 (Menafn - The Sun Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Mayor George Schloegel and City Council members were elated Thursday over Gaming Commission approval for construction of Rotate Black's casino in the newly renovated Gulfport harbor.
The cash-strapped city needs the jobs and income the property will generate.
Councilman Ricky Dombrowski asked Rotate Black officers at a City Hall press conference, "When are you breaking ground?" Within 90 days, they said.
"Revenue-wise, this is going to be a real boost to us at a time when we really need it," Schloegel said. The casino will sit on the western edge of the Bert Jones Yacht Basin, complementing the harbor and Jones Park, where the city has amped up entertainment events to draw business downtown.
"It's going to be an absolutely magnifi
cent site," Schloegel said.
Rotate Black executives said they want to work with the city on tourism events such as regattas and fishing tournaments. A public boardwalk will be open between the harbor and casino resort, which will occupy three lots, two of them private property and one belonging to the city.
Schloegel said the casino is important for economic development and jobs in Gulfport, and will enhance the city's image as a tourist destination. Rotate Black executives said they are hoping to attract gamblers from Houston through Florida. They also hope the casino resort will be a factor in bringing more airline service to Gulfport.
Schloegel said project will increase the city's property, sales tax and gambling revenues. The private property where the casino resort will build, he pointed out, was vacant even before Hurricane Katrina.
Rotate Black's 58-year lease with the Gulfport Redevelopment Commission provides a 50,000 payment once casino construction begins. When gambling operations start, rent increases to 600,000 a year, plus 1 percent of gross gambling revenue. The lease also provides for rent increases over the years based on casino revenue and land values.
Rotate Black first signed a lease with GRC in 2010, with the expectation the project would be approved much sooner.
"The people of the community have really been behind us," Rotate Black executive John Paulsen said. "It's been a long, hard path, but we've gotten through it."
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