Online gambling bill introduced in Mississippi

Online gambling bill introduced in Mississippi

Mississippi may not have as many casinos as Nevada, but it is following in the Silver State's footsteps when it comes to online gambling. Mississippi is the latest of a number of states to propose online gambling legislation. PokerNews reports that New Jersey, Connecticut, Iowa, Hawaii, California, North Dakota and Florida are all looking to follow Nevada's example. Washington, D.C. passed a bill to legalize online gambling last year, but earlier this month the legislation was repealed.

According to, there are only 30 casinos licensed in the state, with about 160 poker tables between them, and they bring in an annual revenue of about $2 billion. Legalizing and regulating online gambling could increase the money coming into the state and give land-based casinos the opportunity to compete in the online gaming market.

The Mississippi Lawful Intent Gaming Act of 2012, filed by Rep. Bobby Moak, seeks to regulate online slots, poker and other internet-based casino games to protect the state's citizens and the handful of casinos legally operating within the state.

"The Legislature finds that since the development of the internet, millions of people have chosen to engage in online gaming through illegal off-shore operators, and such unlawful gambling is conducted without oversight, regulation or enforcement, all of which raises significant concerns for the protection of our citizens," the bill states. "Without the regulation of online gambling, the public's trust and confidence in legal gaming is impacted."

The bill calls for all online gaming equipment to first be approved by the Mississippi Gaming Commission, and anyone who knowingly violates the regulations will be subjected to fines between $50,000 and $200,000. Poker News reports that the legislation includes a provision where all applications for licensing will require a non-refundable deposit of $100,000. The bill is still very new and the details may change before it comes to a vote. There will also be restrictions placed on casino employees that will ban them from playing slots and other poker games on the websites of the companies they work for. The state will also be able to seize the funds of any account that is inactive for one year.

Do you think these provisions are appropriate to regulate online gaming? Would they be effective if put into practice?

Published on 24 February 2012