New casino seeks go-ahead today

Published 12:07 am Thursday, October 27, 2011

Natchez — Just six days before a City of Natchez-imposed deadline, the company hoping to bring a second casino to town received the needed approval to go before the Mississippi Gaming Commission at its meeting today.

Natchez Gaming Enterprises LLC and its proposed Roth Hill casino are on the agenda for the commission’s 9 a.m. meeting in Jackson.

The Natchez Board of Aldermen voted in an April meeting to amend the 4-year-old lease agreement with Natchez Gaming Enterprises LLC to give the company an additional six months to receive approval from the commission in exchange for $100,000.

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The amendment went into effect on April 26 and gives the city the option to terminate the lease if Natchez Gaming Enterprises LLC is not approved by the gaming commission to move forward by Oct. 31.

The deadline for approval to be on today’s agenda was Sept. 30. But Commission Executive Director Allen Godfrey said the commission was able to work with the company, whose application was incomplete when it was submitted before the deadline, to get them on the agenda.

Kevin Preston, the president of the operating company Premier Gaming — which has authority to act on behalf of Natchez Enterprises LLC — said the company was waiting on another funding letter that came in last-minute.

Preston said Natchez Enterprises LLC is seeking approval to proceed with development from the commission today.

Godfrey said application processes seldom happen the way Natchez Enterprises LLC’s did.

“There’s just not many that have to go this far,” he said. This one did and we were able to work with them,” he said.

Mayor Jake Middleton said he will be at the meeting. He said he could not make a definitive call, but he is optimistic about the approval of Natchez Gaming Enterprises LLC’s application.

“You can’t get on the agenda unless you have all the paperwork in place and ready to go,” he said.

“We’re just keeping our fingers crossed and hoping it’s good news,” Middleton said.

Natchez Gaming Enterprises LLC first received site approval for the casino from the commission in 2007 and approval to proceed with development in 2008.

The approval expired after the company failed to submit proper financial documentation with a certain period of time.