Religious Leaders Oppose Casino Initiative

Published November 7, 2005 by OCR Editor

Religious Leaders Oppose Casino Initiative

In wake of Hurricane Katrina's devastating effects on the local gambling industry in Mississippi, land based casino operators were quite to inquire about moving the offshore resorts on to dry land.

It may seem silly, that casinos are required by law to float on the Gulf or Mississippi River. However, this is the only way for them to operate under the state's law. Given that Mississippi is under heavy influence from religious lobbies, it would appear unlikely that the state will approve a land based casino legislation initiative.

An industry executive jokingly remarked that the reason why Mississippi's casinos are required to float stems from the religious leaders who sought to surround them in a hurricane zone with "holy water. Tom Grey, director of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling commented on the subject saying, That was their pitch, not mine. It was going to be like Mark Twain on the Mississippi. This is entertainment, that sort of thing. Religious leaders were quick to respond referring to operators as vultures, for wanting to make a poor community even poorer.

Jimmy Porter, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention's political action group says, It is unfortunate that the gambling industry and its proponents are using the terrible human tragedy brought on by Hurricane Katrina to expand its own interests within our state. Porter also explained the reason why there is a big concern from casinos moving inland saying. The fear of our constituents is that once the casinos are land-based, attempts to move inward to other locations will follow.

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