Church group fights proposed casino moves - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Church group fights proposed casino moves

Hurricane Katrina destroyed casinos along the coast of Mississippi, but casinos could come out ahead of the game with tax breaks and new laws.

The Mississippi Baptist Convention wants lawmakers to let the voters decide how much help to lend casinos.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour asked the state legislature to consider letting casinos come ashore and rebuild on land. The destroyed casinos left tens of thousands of people jobless in Mississippi. But the state's largest religious group opposes any new laws to make gambling easier.

The Mississippi Baptist Convention has a history of fighting gambling. One local pastor says Katrina should not be used as an excuse to expand this controversial industry.

"There's so many other issues that we ought to be concerned about that I don't see why we ought to use this now as a foothold just to further gambling in our state," said James Lewis of Carriage Hills Baptist Church. "'Cuz in the long term, that's not gonna be the answer, I don't think."

Casinos may also benefit from a White House recovery package. The Gulf Opportunity Zone proposal allows tax breaks for businesses that rebuild after the hurricanes - businesses would be able to write off half of the rebuilding cost. Right now, casinos are included in that plan.

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