Tribe shoots for the moon

Mar 5, 2002 8:51 AM

When gaming industry analysts review the success achieved by Native Americans, they usually concentrate on such obvious success stories as the Mashantucket Pequots with Foxwoods; the Mohegans with the Mohegan Sun, and three or four California tribes.

But, pretty much ignored is the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a tribe that has had substantial success thus far with the Silver Star Hotel & Casino and will soon open the $750 million Pearl River Resort.

Both properties are located on the tribal reservation about 75 miles north of Jackson in Philadelphia. The seven-year-old Silver Star is Mississippi’s only land-based casino and the state’s highest grossing gambling operation. There are 29 licensed riverboat casinos.

With profits from the Silver Star casino, tribal chairman Philip Martin began planning the Las Vegas-styled property that will have a 571-room hotel with 144 suites, five restaurants and a 17,000 square foot “golden moon-shaped” structure atop the building.

Within the next few days, the tribe will begin an extensive recruiting effort to hire the 2,000 employees needed to operate the Golden Moon Casino. Later, as part of the Pearl River Resort, the tribe will add a 285-acre recreation development complete with a lake, a wellness center, a 10,000-seat amphitheater, a 219-room hotel and a memorial to Choctaw war veterans.