March 15, 2024 3 min read


Mississippi Senate Approves Tidelands Bill as Coastal Leaders’ Concerns Grow

The bill comes in response to the controversial approval of RW Development’s casino in Biloxi which was greenlit by the Mississippi Gaming Commission

Mississippi’s Tidelands bill has raised concerns about the future of coastal casinos. The bill received unanimous approval from the Senate and has 30 days before a final vote is held.

Senate Bill 2780 passed the Senate on Thursday after receiving two amendments. The first amendment allows cities to control properties on ports and harbors as long as there is not a “gaming component” to them. This means that the state cannot restrict the public use of a coastal property, as long as it is for public purpose.

However, the amendment maintains the points that provide the Secretary of State with control over coastline casinos. Under the new bill, developers must secure a lease from the state, instead of from the local government. Additionally, new casinos cannot be located on or adjacent to sand beaches but still have to be located within 800 feet of the shore. Finally, the casino developer must control all property.

Overall, the bill has the potential to hinder the creation of new casinos, some believe. Critics furthermore claimed that coastal leaders were not consulted about the Tidelands bill, depriving them of their input.

The bill highlighted a discrepancy between the state government and the local governments.

Mississippi’s Government Doesn’t Want to Repeat the Recent Biloxi Hassle

David Blount, chair of the Senate Gaming Committee, ushered in the first amendment to Senate Bill 2780. He explained that the government is not interested in micromanaging local harbors and instead wants to create a “consistent environment” for the casino industry.

His comment echoed the recent approval of RW Development’s casino in Biloxi which was greenlit by the Mississippi Gaming Commission. The project was initiated by a partnership between the developer and the city of Biloxi and Harrison County to rebuild Veterans Avenue Pier. The Secretary of State blocked the initiative – a decision that was later disputed in the Supreme Court. As a result, RW Development was later able to secure approval for adding a casino to the pier.

Mike Thompson, chairman of the Senate Ports & Marine Resources Committee, explained that the Tidelands bill seeks to make sure that nothing precludes government authorities from having exclusive control over their ports and harbors. He acknowledged that the bill has generated concerns among coastal leaders and added a reverse repealer amendment that ensures the bill will have more time for adjustments to be made.

In the meantime, the House version of this measure, HB 1659, passed the House by a landslide after 113 representatives voted in favor of the bill against 6 who opposed it.


Angel has a passion for all forms of writing, be it fiction or nonfiction. His curious nature gives him an ace up his sleeve when researching a new topic. Angel’s thirst for knowledge, paired with adaptability, always helps him find his way around.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *