Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association representing casinos says its members “trust the governor’s decision will be in the best interest of the industry and the state.”
Last week, Governor Tate Reeves (R) expressed his discontent with how Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann (R) and State Senator David Blount (D) were blocking the reconfirmation of Gaming Commission Chairman Al Hopkins.
READ MORE: Governor Reeves, Senator Blount tangle over confirmation of Gaming Commission Chair Hopkins
As reported first by Y’all Politics, Senator Blount asserted that Hopkins, who previously voted against expanding gaming, wants to change the rules regarding legal casino sites to expand gaming on the Coast.
“Mr. Hopkins has refused to take a position on whether he would continue to push changing the long-established rule if confirmed,” Sen. Blount tweeted on the issue. “My only goal is to maintain the current rule – in place since Katrina – regarding where casinos may be located on the Gulf Coast. I am happy to support Mr. Hopkins if he will make that commitment.”
The Governor’s office has maintained that for Hopkins’ confirmation to be held up by the Democratic Senate Chairman unless the nominee promises to fall in line with his policy positions is wrong and should not be allowed by the Lt. Governor who appointed Blount to that role.
When contacted by Y’all Politics, Senator Blount provided YP with a memo he sent to the members of the Senate Gaming Committee. That memo shows quoted statements from Coast casino executives opposing Hopkins’ confirmation, including Treasure Bay, Silver Slipper, Island View, and more.
However, things have now changed.
Governor Reeves took to Twitter on Monday, tweeting that casinos had released a joint statement saying they “trust the Governor’s decision” in favor of confirming Hopkins.
“Senator Blount said he was only carrying the industry’s water by killing our conservative appointee to the gaming commission. But casinos just released a joint statement saying they ‘trust the Governor’s decision’ in favor of confirming. So…no excuses left. This should end it,” Reeves wrote.
Senator Blount said he was only carrying the industry’s water by killing our conservative appointee to the gaming commission. But casinos just released a joint statement saying they “trust the Governor’s decision” in favor of confirming. So…no excuses left. This should end it.
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) April 4, 2022
The letter Governor Reeves is referencing came from the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association (MGHA) and is dated for today, April 4th. It is signed by Executive Director Larry Gregory.
Gregory writes to Reeves, Hosemann and Blount that in light of recent event and after consulting with members of the association, the MGHA believes that the industry should not be involved in the process of appointing regulators “due to the message it sends and the potential for conflicts it creates.”
“The association and its members respect the process and trust the governor’s decision will be in the best interest of the industry and the state,” Gregory writes, adding that MGHA and its members respect the process used to select the Gaming Commission members.
The casino executives that were previously quoted in the memo Senator Blount shared with the Senate Committee are all members of the MGHA.