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Mississippi Online Gambling Effort Resurrected

Lawmaker Who Failed At Proposal In 2012 Back At It In 2013


A Mississippi lawmaker is trying again to pass his Internet gaming bill, just like he said he would. The plan could bring fully legal online poker to the Magnolia State.

Rep. Bobby Moak told Card Player in March 2012, not long after his three-week old web gaming bill hit the muck, that he would eventually bring up the issue again.

House Bill No. 254, also known as Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2013, would authorize the state’s Gaming Commission to issue “permits” to existing gaming licensees. The state would also be charged with regulating the new industry.

With 30 commercial casinos, Mississippi is already one of the nation’s most gambling-friendly states. Its gaming taxes are also some of the lowest. Running Internet games would cost casinos within the state five percent of gross revenue on the new business, per month.

While brick-and-mortar play is subject to an additional tax imposed by the municipality where the casino is located, Internet gaming would be excluded from this provision.

“For a small state we have done pretty well in the gaming industry,” Moak said last year. “We have been viewed as somewhat of a leader because we are close to the Nevada [gaming] statutes and to some degree New Jersey. Small states like Mississippi that are really heavy in the industry need to get out in front on issues like this.”

“It is going to happen,” he added. “It is coming.”

Moak wasn’t immediately reachable Tuesday for comment on his latest attempt at a bill.

While Moak’s plan was just resurrected, other states have made progress toward their own venture into the online realm. Nevada is close to kicking off its own intrastate online poker industry, an online gaming bill was still in the governor of New Jersey’s hands as of Tuesday and some in California are looking to continue the fight.

In addition to Nevada, Delaware has legalized real-money wagering on the web.