Arneault Is New Diamondhead Chairman

Ted Arneault, a certified public accountant and former chairman of MTR Gaming Group, has been recruited to replace Deborah Vitale as chairman of the board of Diamondhead Casino Corp. in Mississippi.

Former MTR Gaming Group Chairman Ted Arneault will replace Deborah Vitale as chairman of the board of Diamondhead Casino Corp. The company was created to develop a casino in Diamondhead, Mississippi.

Vitale said Arneault was chosen for his experience in the casino industry as well as his background as a certified public accountant.

The company recently closed on the first $1 million of a $3 million debenture offering convertible to common stock, which is a method companies use to finance projects, Vitale added. It will be easier to get additional funding after the casino has site approval, she said.

The property had site approval for two casinos on the Bay of St. Louis before Hurricane Katrina.

Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer acknowledges that the casino project “is relatively controversial. Some people don’t want a casino. Some people want it one place and don’t want it another place.”

“Hopefully, most of you see it as some type of good news,” Schafer said. “Whether or not it happens I don’t know, but sometimes action breeds reaction. We need a hotel and we need some type of development.”

Vitale has worked for several years to build a casino on the property, and once pondered a deal with Donald Trump. In 2000, she sold four gambling ships in Florida and used the money to pay off the Diamondhead land.

“I bet the whole company on Diamondhead,” she said. “I never doubted for a minute I had done the right thing.”

Diamondhead Casino owns 404 acres along an interstate highway and two miles of waterfront on the Bay of St. Louis.

“There is not another location in the USA that has that,” she said.