It appears as though the fate of the proposed Red Water Casino in Leake County has been decided as a vast majority of members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians voted against the $25 million project.
According to official results for the court ordered referendum (Referendum No. 2017-01) dated November 17, 2017, which was posted on the Facebook page of Chahta for Better Government, 65 percent of voters were opposed to the new casino being built in the Red Water community. Furthermore, eight of the nine communities on the reservation were against the casino, with the lone community being Red Water, where the gambling venue would be built.
There needed to be 2197 registered voters or 40 percent participation in order to meet the requirement. The Tribal Election Committee’s official results of the November 16, 2017 Referendum Election show 40.6 percent or 2,230 registered voters participated in the election, with 710 voting for, 1506 voting against and 14 rejected.
Chief Phyliss J. Anderson, who resides in the community of Red Water and has worked towards the addition, reportedly said that the new casino would provide upwards of 250 jobs and bring in some $50 million in annual revenue. However, Barry McMillan, who in June this year was elected to a seat on the Pearl River Tribal Council, said the cannibalization effect the new casino would have on Choctaw’s two existing casinos. A study commissioned by the tribe reportedly found that a new casino would result in the shifting of $18 million to Red Water.
If the Red Water Casino had been approved in Thursday’s vote, it would be the tribe’s fourth casino. The tribe’s flagship gaming venue is the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw, Mississippi approximately 30 minutes by car from the proposed Red Water Casino. The Pearl River Resort properties include Silver Star Hotel and Casino, Bok Homa Casino in Sandersville and the Golden Moon Hotel and Casino.
Thursday night Chief Anderson released a statement saying: “Today, members of the Tribe voted in a special referendum election on the Red Water Casino. The preliminary results show that the will of the people is not to expand in the Red Water community and I respect the decision of our voters. My commitment to our Tribe and people is to always do what I feel is in the best interest of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. We will continue to explore other opportunities to build on our existing success for our Tribe,” as reported by ABC Newscenter 11.