Owners of promising property in Diamondhead, Mississippi — part of which was approved for a gaming venue — have no choice but to sell some or all the approximate 400-acre parcel due to financial conditions.
Diamondhead Casino Corp. President Deborah Vitale confirmed to the Sun Herald the land was for sale and explained the company needs money to its pay bills.
The property is situated on two miles along the Bay of St. Louis and has two miles adjacent to Interstate 10.
In 2014, the Mississippi Gaming Commission approved placing a casino on part of the parcel, but since then, the company has been unable to find a development partner or raise the needed money to build the venue.
Until Oct. 31, Diamondhead is under contract with Newmark Knight Frank, a New York-based commercial real estate firm, to sell some or all the land.
Our primary focus is to find a joint venture partner,” Vitale told the newspaper. If not, she said Diamondhead would agree to sell even some of the property.
Among those who have been interested was President Donald Trump, a former casino owner. In 2006, he agreed to construct a gaming venue there but decided in 2007 not to proceed.
Trump Entertainment Resorts — which was also known as Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts — was founded in 1995 and declared bankruptcy before Trump moved into the White House. Now, it does not own or operate any gaming properties.
Earlier, it owned and operated such venues as the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza, Trump World’s Fair, Trump Marina, Trump Lake Michigan and Trump 29.
Another firm interested in the parcel was Casinos Austria International. The Vienna-based company operates some 40 brick and mortar gaming venues, eight casinos on ships and 15 slot machine parlors.
Also, Phoenix Gaming and Entertainment LLC, intended to purchase 25 of the 400 acres for $25 million, but backed out in 2011. That firm is led by CEO James Ahearn.
Arguably, the 400-acre property has many of the qualities businesses look for when developing a casino. It was hoped a partner would build a resort gaming venue, using shorefront land for a boardwalk. As a draw for tourists, airports are located nearby in Diamondhead, Gulfport and New Orleans.
But market saturation is a concern in many US and foreign gaming locations.
Competition in Market
There are already a dozen gambling venues along the Mississippi coast — so any new casino runs the risk of excessive competition for revenues. In January, the Mississippi Gaming Commission approved a new casino for the state’s shoreline — in Long Beach.
But reality came on Tuesday, when Penn National Gaming officials announced they plan to close the Resorts Casino Tunica on June 30.
It is the third casino to shutter its doors in the region since 2014 due to increasing competition and declining revenues, according to The Associated Press. Caesars Entertainment closed Tunica Roadhouse in January and closed Harrah’s Tunica Hotel & Casino in 2014.
Nationally, the US East Coast from 2006 until now, has seen an influx of more than $10 billion to open and expand 25 casinos. They have been as simple as buildings with slot machines or as expansive as resort casinos.
To further boost revenue, Mississippi officials approved sports betting last year with MGM Resorts International properties Beau Rivage in Biloxi and the Golden Strike in Tunica accepting bets in August. They were followed by Penn National’s Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast in Biloxi and Boomtown Casino in Tunica, as well as Hollywood Casino Tunica,1st Jackpot Casino Tunica, and Resorts Casino Tunica.
Sports betting later commenced at the Golden Nugget and Churchill Downs casinos. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians also accepted sports bets at its Golden Moon Casino.