Barbour and Bryant oppose Jones County casino

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Governor Haley Barbour and Lt. Governor Phil Bryant say they will actively oppose construction of a new gaming casino in Jones County.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is hoping to open the casino around December of 2010.

The group announced this week it would build an $18 million casino on tribal land in the Bogue Homa community near Sandersville.

The 27,000-square-foot casino would be built on Choctaw Road and would contain 500-700 slot machines and a snack bar. It would be the tribe's first gaming venture outside its traditional headquarters of Neshoba County.

Dan Turner, a spokesman for Barbour said the governor is opposed to expanding the tribe's gaming influence beyond its traditional lands in Philadelphia, MS.

Turner said Barbour told Chief Beasley Denson and his attorneys of his opposition in a recent meeting.

Under federal law, the tribe does not need state approval, but turner said Barbour does have options to actively fight the expansion. He would not say what those options are.

Lt. Gov. Bryant also said he is strongly opposed to expansion of any gaming beyond counties where it is currently located.

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