Carter Leaving Mississippi Gaming Commission

The Mississippi Gaming Commission now has two vacant seats on its three-member board with Wallace "Wally" Carter's announcement he will resign effective February 28. Former Commission Chairman John Hairston resigned January 31. Governor Phil Bryant has until March 19 to replace Hairston or Carter or both, and the legislature must approve his appointments.

Wallace “Wally” Carter of Ocean Springs recently announced he will resign from the Mississippi Gaming Commission, effective February 28. Carter’s announcement leaves two vacant seats on the three-member board since former Commission Chairman John Hairston also has resigned. Allen Godfrey, Gaming Commission executive director, said Carter wants to return to his business and avoid any conflicts of interest. An eighth-generation Mississippian, Carter is a part owner and corporate senior vice president at Waste Pro USA, which has 2 million customers in seven states, more than 2,000 employees and 0 million in annual revenue. “He will be missed by the commission,” Godfrey said.

Carter was appointed to the Gaming Commission in September 2012 to fill the seat of former chairman Jerry St. Pé. His term was scheduled to run through September 20, 2016. Governor Phil Bryant has until the next schedule meeting on March 19 to name a replacement for Hairston or Carter or both, and the legislature must approve his appointments. “If not we won’t be there because we can’t have a meeting with one commissioner,” Godfrey said.

Hairston resigned effective January 31, in part because his commissioner Nolen Cannon’s terms would expire September 30. Hairston said he believed it would benefit the commission if their terms were staggered. , Hairston was named president and chief executive officer of Hancock Holding Company in November. He said Carter “is an outstanding analytical thinker and provided super service to the Mississippi Gaming Commission during our tenure together. He has sold his businesses and retired a couple of times, in each instance getting lured back into starting and building excellent companies. His decision to step aside given any future conflict of interest is admirable, and exactly the sort of character expected of a commissioner. I’m sure the governor will appoint a replacement of similar integrity and dedication.”

Jimmy Buffett attended Carter’s first meeting to get approval for Margaritaville Casino. Carter jokingly asked if Buffett attends every meeting. He noted he was not concerned about controversial issues and was up to the challenge of serving on the board.