Wind Creek Hospitality Plans a Gulf Coast Casino in D’Iberville, Mississippi

D'Ilberville Mississippi Casino - Wind Creek Hospitality - Poarch Band of Creek Indians

Wind Creek Hospitality also owns gaming operations in Alabama, Nevada, and Florida.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians plans to open the Wind Creek Hospitality gaming venue┬áin the city of D’Iberville, a Mississippi community located on the Gulf Coast. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians own three gaming venues in Alabama, but now want to expand into Mississippi’s lucrative gaming industry.

The Poarch Indians, who are based in Atmore, Alabama, own 34 acres of contiguous land in the Back Bay area of D’Iberville, a community of 9,486 residents located across the Back Bay north of Biloxi. Arthur Mothershed, CFO for Wind Creek Hospitality, told the Sun Herald, “We think it’s a great site. We just want to make sure that whatever we do, we get it right.

Jay Dorris on D’Iberville Casino

Jay Dorris, the CEO of Wind Creek Hospitality, said he wants to build a working rapport with D’Iberville’s civic leaders and the Mississippi Gaming Council. Mr. Dorris said he wants to work with local and state leaders to develop the proper plan for the new casino, including brainstorming ideas for what “thing” will make the casino unique in Mississippi’s gaming landscape.

The Wind Creek chief executive said the new casino would be “very complimentary” with the group’s operations in Alabama. All Wind Creek sites are going to be a part of the same rewards club, so gamblers in Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi could build up comps points while at any venue.

Requirements for Mississippi Gaming License

To acquire a gaming license, the Mississippi Gaming Council is going to make requirements the Poarch Band are not used to in Alabama. The casino gaming space would have to be at least 40,000 sq ft. The casino also would need at least a 300-room hotel located on the grounds. Most important, Wind Creek Hospitality would need to pay a 12% gaming tax on slot machine revenues. Because the casino would not be on reservation lands, the D’Iberville site would be considered a private casino.

The other twelve casinos along the Gulf Coast share the same burden, so the unnamed D’Iberville casino should not be unduly burdened. The biggest obstacle might be the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, a nearby gaming operation which was opened in December 2015. The $290 million Scarlet Pearl has 1,200 slots, 20+ gaming tables, a state-mandated 300-room hotel, and 3 restaurants. Given the proximity, the two casinos likely would cannibalize customers from one another.

Poarch Band of Creek Indians

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians have Class II casinos in Montgomery, Atmore, and Wetumpka, Alabama. Those are the only legal casino-style gambling sites in Alabama, though private operations like Milton McGregor’s VictoryLand have tried to introduce slot machines for years. When former Alabama Attorney General and new US Senator Luther Strange cracked down on VictoryLand’s gaming machines, it was a huge benefit to the Poarch Band.

While Alabama lawmakers were deciding whether to license private gaming operations, tribe’s leaders testified at Alabama legislative hearings about the suffering VictoryLand’s gaming operations would cause their tribe, if allowed to continue. With the end of VictoryLand’s attempts to develop Class II slot machine gambling, the Poarch had the resources to expand operations of Wind Creek Hospitality beyond Alabama’s confines.

Wind Creek Hospitality

In March 2017, Wind Creek Hospitality opened Wa She Shu Casino in Gardnerville, Nevada. The Wa She Shu Casino is a joint venture iwth the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. Wind Creek Hospitality also owns majority stake in several greyhound racing facilities, including operations in Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida. Wind Creek also bought Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana.