Gulfport Gaming Development received the requested site approval by the Mississippi Gaming Commission and cleared the first hurdle on the road towards developing a $140 million Gulfport casino resort. The news was revealed by the head of the authority, Allen Godfrey, on Thursday.

With the green light by the MS Gaming Commission, the land near Jones Park controlled by Gulfport Gaming is now a legal gaming site, meaning the company may design, build and launch a gaming facility as planned.

The operator had previously received a 60-year lease for the 4.5-acre area owned by the city, plus signed two additional lease deals with private landholders, Misco Marine and Marine Life, for a total of 10-acre land at the harbour. Under the agreement reached with the Gulfport City Council, the group is obliged to pay $80,000 monthly rent until the property is up and running. Afterwards, 6% of the gross gambling revenue of the casino will go to the city budget. In addition to the 60-year lease, the company can also get three renewal options of 10 years each.

However, prior to starting the construction process, Gulfport Gaming Development must prove that the company has enough financing to complete a casino resort that will meet the requirements by the state. For example, there must be at least 300 hotel rooms, a casino floor of at least 40,000 square feet, a fine dining restaurant with at least 75 seats as well as a regular 200-seat restaurant. Additionally, the resort must provide parking for minimum 500 cars.

Noting the Godfrey’s statement that the property needs to bring an “amenity that will drive economic growth and tourism,” Gulfport Gaming Development will also have to think of something unique that will boost the casino market in the area.