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Mississippi Joins Online Poker Race

State Lawmaker Introduces Bill This Week

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Mississippi has joined the race to be an early player in statewide online gaming.

The Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2012, which says it’s in response to the recent Department of Justice flip-flop, would allow existing licensees to offer Internet wagering. Sites would pay a monthly five-percent fee on gross revenue.

Before an online site could operate, the Mississippi Gaming Commission would adopt rules for the industry.

According to the Commission, the state, which first legalized gambling in 1990, has 30 casino licensees and takes in gross gaming revenue of more than $2 billion annually. The casinos have about 160 poker tables collectively.

Caesars Entertainment, Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts have casino interests in Mississippi. All three entities will likely be involved in Nevada online poker.

While Mississippi is just trying to enter the mix, Nevada is steamrolling ahead with its plans to have the nation’s first intrastate industry. The rules are effectively done, and Silver State regulators just need to license companies.

Other jurisdictions where online gaming interest has surfaced publicly in the past include New Jersey, The District of Columbia, California, Hawaii, Ohio, Connecticut, North Dakota, Florida and Iowa, which appears to be the furthest along after Nevada.

On Wednesday, Iowa lawmakers sent an online poker bill one step deeper into the legislature, according to the Globe Gazette. The state commissioned a study of the industry late last year.

Efforts for a federal online gaming bill have stalled on Capitol Hill, but some gaming attorneys have said that the door has already been cracked open for possible state coalitions, which would help create larger player pools.

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