Magnolia Bluffs Casino background checks ongoing

Published 12:12 am Friday, July 27, 2012

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Construction workers in man lifts work on hanging air conditioning ducts on the gaming floor Thursday afternoon at the Magnolia Bluffs casino work site. Construction manager Glenn Bedford said the casino should be in the final phase by the fall and open to the public on Dec. 21.

NATCHEZ — The Mississippi Gaming Commission is in the midst of conducting routine extensive background checks for stakeholders in the Magnolia Bluffs Casino in preparation for the final approval before the casino opens in December.

Gaming Commission Deputy Director Eddie Williams said the commission is conducting suitability investigations, which he said are standard procedure for casino owners, general managers, investors or significant shareholders. Findings of suitability are granted, Williams said, in preparation for licensing.

Williams said all of the casino’s funding documents were submitted on time in June. The documents, including the city’s lease with the casino and finalized letters of commitments from funding sources, were originally due Feb. 24. The gaming commission gave casino developers a 120-day extension on Feb. 23.

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The suitability investigations, Williams said, involve exhaustive criminal, financial and business background checks and generally average about three months.

As far as checking funding sources, Williams said basically there is the lending company that has a portion of the debt, then the equity, which involves people who are putting money up themselves for the casino.

“Basically you’re determining where the money came from and making sure it comes from a legitimate source,” Williams said.

“This is standard with all casinos in preparation for licensing,” Williams said. “You’re making sure this is someone you want doing business in your state.”

Per standard procedure, Williams said the casino’s developers, Natchez Casino OpCo, formerly Natchez Gaming Enterprises, will have to appear at a gaming commission meeting prior to the casino’s Dec. 21 opening date to receive the licensure for the casino.

Premier Gaming Group President Kevin Preston said work is ongoing in preparation for the scheduled Dec. 21 opening date.

Preston said anyone interested in a job with the casino can attend a job fair Aug. 17 and 18 at the Natchez Community Center.

Casino management staff, Preston said, will be on hand at the job fair to talk to applicants about the casino and job descriptions.

Preston said the casino is looking for a variety of employees with different skill sets for jobs, including security, restaurant workers, dealers and more.

The job fair will be from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. Aug. 17 and 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Aug. 18.