HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - This week Governor Haley Barbour announced his plans to hire outside council to pursue litigation against the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians over their proposed Sandersville casino. On Wednesday, he reiterated his strong opposition to the development, which he says violates state policy.
Governor Barbour said a previous compact made between the state and the Choctaws specified the types of casinos that could be built in Mississippi. That agreement called for the addition of amenities like hotels, golf courses, and other recreational features.
Barbour said in Biloxi during the National Lieutenant Governors Conference, that the compact did not include the type of casino proposed for Sandersville. A project the Governor described as a metal building slot parlor that doesn't even have a restaurant.
Barbour said the planned development in Jones County does not meet the requirements of other state casinos. He added that many Choctaw Indians are also against the Jones County casino.
"The vote of the tribal council was eight to seven to approve this. The tribe has been denied the right to vote on it. Many in the tribe asked to have a referendum where everybody got to vote. Since the council vote was so close. There is no question that many, many Choctaws recognize this as a bad decision," said Barbour.
Barbour said it's his job to protect the interests of Mississippi residents and that they are being violated by this proposal.