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New casino revenue helps out city

After literally years and years in the planning and development stage, Natchez’s second casino opened its doors 12 months ago with a great deal of skepticism in the minds of many locals.

Many community leaders suggested Magnolia Bluffs Casino wouldn’t be open long, or if it survived, its success would be the nail in the coffin of the Isle of Capri Casino in Natchez.

Thus far the skeptics have been flat wrong.

Many people — perhaps even including some in city government — were sitting on pins and needles last week wondering if Magnolia Bluffs would come through on its second lease payment to the city.

Apparently all the worries were for naught. The casino penned a check for a cool $1 million for its lease payment for using city-owned land at the foot of Roth’s Hill. Then as icing on the cake, the casino also paid another $550,000 for community development projects, per the contract.

Though much criticism was laid on former Mayor Jake Middleton’s administration for how it handled the casino contract negotiation — including from this newspaper — Middleton’s hard work to finalize the deal with the casino seems to have paid off nicely.

The City of Natchez has already seen a substantial boost to its own bottom line with potentially much more to come down the road.

Time will tell whether what effectively could be a lifetime lease on the property was a good deal for the city or not, but for now, let’s at least celebrate the success the City of Natchez has seen through the additional revenue from the new casino.