Mississippi Gaming Commission approves sites for massive resort plan

TUNICA, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Gaming Commission has approved casino sites for two North Dakota American Indian tribes that are among groups hoping to operate casinos as part of the proposed $1.9 billion Myriad World Resorts in Tunica.

Myriad World Entertainment & Resorts' development calls for a casino resort featuring a climate-controlled, fully enclosed, 18-hole golf course and botanical gardens.

Ken W. Davis, tribal chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in New Town, N.D., said the tribe's investment in gaming is a way to become more self-sufficient.

"We're in a very isolated part of the United States, and we know, in order to have our tribe prosper and grow, we're going to have to look at business opportunities all over the world," Davis said.

The commission also approved casino sites at Myriad World Resorts for MHA Gaming Co. LLC, owned by the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation and based in New Town, N.D.; and High Plains Holding Co. in Minot, N.D. Gaming Commissioner Nolen Canen said the American Indian tribes who want to invest in the Myriad World Resorts project recognize the project would grow the Tunica gaming market.

"They see what appears to be a good opportunity in Mississippi to come down here and make a profit," he said.

The developers told the Gaming Commission in March that they would like the resort to eventually include six casinos in addition to the one they hold a license to operate.

Myriad Entertainment has an agreement with Dutchess Private Equities Fund to provide up to $20 million for corporate and working capital, according to its Web site.

Myriad recently received approval from the Tunica County Board of Supervisors to implement tax increment financing that could be used to finance about $70 million of infrastructure costs for the resort.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)