1997 Regular Session
To: Finance; Economic Dev, Tourism and Parks
By: Senator(s) Horhn
Senate Bill 2834
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 75-76-67, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THAT NEW GAMING LICENSES BE ISSUED ONLY TO CORPORATIONS OR OTHER ORGANIZATIONS IN WHICH THERE IS A CERTAIN MINIMUM PERCENTAGE OF FINANCIAL PARTICIPATION BY RESIDENT MISSISSIPPIANS AND BY SOCIALLY AND ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED INDIVIDUALS, AND TO REQUIRE THAT NEW GAMING LICENSES BE ISSUED ONLY TO PERSONS WHO ALSO OWN OR CONTROL IMPROVEMENTS NEAR THEIR LICENSED GAMING ESTABLISHMENT SUCH AS GOLF COURSES OR HOTELS; TO AMEND SECTION 75-76-77, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE FOREGOING REQUIREMENTS MUST BE MET BY CURRENT GAMING LICENSEES PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1998, IN ORDER FOR THEIR LICENSES TO CONTINUE IN EFFECT; TO REQUIRE GAMING LICENSEES TO PURCHASE A CERTAIN MINIMUM PERCENTAGE OF SERVICES AND PRODUCTS FROM MISSISSIPPI BUSINESSES AND FROM SOCIALLY AND ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED INDIVIDUALS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 75-76-67, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
75-76-67. (1) Any person who the commission determines is qualified to receive a license or be found suitable under the provisions of this chapter, having due consideration for the proper protection of the health, safety, morals, good order and general welfare of the inhabitants of the State of Mississippi and the declared policy of this state, may be issued a state gaming license or found suitable. The burden of proving his qualification to receive any license or be found suitable is on the applicant.
(2) An application to receive a license or be found suitable shall not be granted unless the commission is satisfied that the applicant is:
(a) A person of good character, honesty and integrity;
(b) A person whose prior activities, criminal record, if any, reputation, habits and associations do not pose a threat to the public interest of this state or to the effective regulation and control of gaming, or create or enhance the dangers of unsuitable, unfair or illegal practices, methods and activities in the conduct of gaming or the carrying on of the business and financial arrangements incidental thereto; and
(c) In all other respects qualified to be licensed or found suitable consistent with the declared laws of the state.
(3) No person shall be granted a license or found suitable under the provisions of this chapter who has been convicted of a felony in any court of this state, another state, or the United States; and no person shall be granted a license or found suitable hereunder who has been convicted of a crime in any court of another state or the United States which, if committed in this state, would be a felony; and no person shall be granted a license or found suitable under the provisions of this chapter who has been convicted of a misdemeanor in any court of this state or of another state, when such conviction was for gambling, sale of alcoholic beverages to minors, prostitution, or procuring or inducing individuals to engage in prostitution.
(4) A license to operate a gaming establishment shall not be granted unless the applicant has satisfied the commission that:
(a) He has adequate business probity, competence and experience, in gaming or generally; and
(b) The proposed financing of the entire operation is:
(i) Adequate for the nature of the proposed operation; and
(ii) From a suitable source. Any lender or other source of money or credit which the commission finds does not meet the standards set forth in subsection (2) may be deemed unsuitable.
(5) An application to receive a license or be found suitable constitutes a request for a determination of the applicant's general character, integrity and ability to participate or engage in, or be associated with, gaming. Any written or oral statement made in the course of an official proceeding of the commission or the executive director by any witness testifying under oath which is relevant to the purpose of the proceeding is absolutely privileged and does not impose liability for defamation or constitute a ground for recovery in any civil action.
(6) The commission may, in its discretion, grant a license to a corporation which has complied with the provisions of this chapter.
(7) The commission may, in its discretion, grant a license to a limited partnership which has complied with the provisions of this chapter.
(8) No limited partnership, except one whose sole limited partner is a publicly traded corporation which has registered with the commission, or business trust or organization or other association of a quasi-corporate character is eligible to receive or hold any license under this chapter unless all persons having any direct or indirect interest therein of any nature whatsoever, whether financial, administrative, policymaking or supervisory, are individually qualified to be licensed under the provisions of this chapter.
(9) From and after July 1, 1998, new gaming licenses shall be issued only to corporations or other organizations or associations in which (a) not less than fifty percent (50%) of the financial participation is by Mississippi residents and (b) not less than ten percent (10%) of the financial participation is by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals as such individuals are defined under Section 8(d) of the federal Small Business Act (15 U.S.C.S. Section 637(d)).
(10) From and after July 1, 1997, no person may be granted a gaming license who does not at the time of licensing also own or otherwise control, within a reasonable proximity to the proposed location of his gaming establishment, improvements related to destination, resort, recreation or lodging, such as golf courses or hotels.
(11) The commission may, by regulation, limit the number of persons who may be financially interested, and the nature of their interest, in any corporation or other organization or association licensed under this chapter, and may establish such other qualifications of licenses as the commission, in its discretion, deems to be in the public interest and consistent with the declared policy of the state.
SECTION 2. Section 75-76-77, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
75-76-77. (1) The executive director shall present his recommendation upon an application to the commission at the next meeting of the commission.
(2) The commission may, after considering the recommendation of the executive director, issue to the applicant named, as a natural person, and to the licensed gaming establishment, as a business entity, under the name or style therein designated, a state gaming license, or may deny the same. The commission may limit the license or place such conditions thereon as it may deem necessary in the public interest. The commission may, if it considers necessary, issue a probationary license. No state gaming license may be assigned either in whole or in part.
(3) After the issuance of the license, it shall continue in effect upon proper payment of the state license fees and any other fees, taxes and penalties, as required by law and the regulations of the commission, subject to the power of the commission to revoke, suspend, condition or limit licenses; provided, however, that for any gaming license issued prior to July 1, 1997, to continue in effect after June 30, 1999, the licensee must meet the conditions imposed by Section 75-76-67(9) and (10) and by Section 3, Senate Bill No. 2834, 1997 Regular Session.
(4) The commission may further limit or place such conditions as it may deem necessary in the public interest upon any registration, finding of suitability or approval for which application has been made.
(5) After the executive director has made a recommendation for denial of an application, the commission, after considering the recommendation of the executive director, may:
(a) Deny the application;
(b) Remand the matter to the executive director for such further investigation and reconsideration as the commission may order; or
(c) By unanimous vote of the members present, grant the application for a license, registration, finding of suitability or approval.
(6) If the commission is not satisfied that an applicant recommended by the executive director is qualified to be licensed under this chapter, the commission may cause to be made such investigation into and conduct such hearings concerning the qualifications of the applicant in accordance with its regulations as it may deem necessary.
(7) If the commission desires further investigation be made or desires to conduct any hearings, it shall, within thirty (30) days after presentation of the recommendation of the executive director, so notify the applicant and set a date for hearing. Final action by the commission must be taken within one hundred twenty (120) days after the recommendation of the executive director has been presented to the commission. Failure of the commission to take action within one hundred twenty (120) days shall be deemed to constitute approval of the applicant by the commission, and a license must be issued forthwith upon compliance by the applicant.
(8) The commission has full and absolute power and authority to deny any application for any cause it deems reasonable. If an application is denied, the commission shall prepare and file its written decision upon which its order denying the application is based.
SECTION 3. At least thirty percent (30%) of all contracts executed by a gaming licensee for the provision of services and products to his licensed gaming establishment shall be with resident businesses actually domiciled in Mississippi. Of such contracts executed with resident businesses actually domiciled in Mississippi, at least ten percent (10%) shall be with businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals as such individuals are defined under Section 8(d) of the federal Small Business Act (15 U.S.C.S. Section 637(d)).
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.