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D'Iberville casino project in doubt

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D'IBERVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Developers of a proposed casino for D'Iberville have missed a deadline to secure financing to build the project.

Backers of the proposed Scarlet Pearl Casino had until 5 p.m. Monday to secure financing for the $250 million project. They didn't.

"It's a firm deadline," said Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission. "At this time, no extensions are being entertained."

Godfrey said the ability to get financing to build casinos apparently is still challenging, "based on the fact that these projects have not come to fruition."

Godfrey said while site approval still stands, developers will have to go back through the review process to prove they can finance the new casino to the Gaming Commission.

D'Iberville has worked for more than 20 years to get a casino and City Manager Bobby Eleuterius said Monday, "I'm very, very disappointed."

He said the city remains ready to assist the developer in any way.

"The project brings a lot to the city," Eleuterius said. Along with the hundreds of jobs the casino would create, he said the developers intend to lease land from the school district.

This isn't the only casino project on a financing deadline.

The Hemingway Casino project in Gulfport has until Tuesday to secure financing, or the developers of that property could face the same fate.

Scarlet Pearl — and Hemingway Resort if it misses Tuesday's deadline — must go back through the entire review process with the Gaming Commission and meet the new, more stringent development requirements.

Scarlet Pearl may qualify under the new rules because it has the required 300 hotel rooms, along with an elaborate 36-hole miniature golf course, an event center and other amenities.

The Hemingway Casino in Gulfport doesn't have enough rooms under the new regulations. It is proposed as a 205-room luxury hotel rooms operated by Hemingway Hotel and Resorts and based on the life of author Ernest Hemingway. It also is 5,000 square feet short of the minimum of a 40,000-square-foot or larger casino.

When the Gaming Commission gave the developers permission to proceed in December, it was with the April 1 deadline to finalize financing and pay outstanding balances.

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