No Online Gambling in Mississippi Just Yet

Mississippi Missing Out on Online Gaming

Once again Representative Bobby Moak has been unable to convince his political colleagues back a bill which would legalize intrastate gambling.

The House Bill 254 proposed that a regulatory framework for online gambling be created. This would have ensured online gaming including poker would be available to local residents. However, the committee stage was the closest it got to passing and on February 5 it was revealed that the Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2013 has yet to become a reality.

In the text of the bill, Moak described the advantages of legal online gambling, saying that the regulation of the gaming “would inhibit underage wagering and otherwise protect vulnerable individuals, ensure that the games offered through the Internet are fair and safe, stop sending much-needed jobs and tax and fee revenue overseas to illegal operators, provide a significant source of taxable revenue, create jobs and economic development, address the concerns of law enforcement, and ensure that only those persons of good character and fitness, who meet strict criteria set forth in law and regulations, are suitable to facilitate and conduct online gaming activities.”

The bill said players would have to be over the age of 21 and live in Mississippi and sports betting would not be permitted.

Missed Opportunity

This year’s bill mirrored a similar effort House Bill 1373 that Representative Moak introduced in February 2012. Both suffered the same fate, prompting local businessmen to speak out against the blocks.

Attorney Michael Cavanaugh of Biloxi, who represents clients who have interests in online gaming, claimed it was time to get in on the act. “I think if we don't, we'll be missing out on an opportunity that other large gaming jurisdictions are giving their citizens," he said.

Just this past week the State of Nevada, home to Las Vegas, passed a bill to pave the way for online poker to be played legally. And the Governor of the State of New Jersey, Chris Christie is expected to pass an ammended version of a bill which will allow online gambling hosted in Atlantic City.

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About the author
Daniel Hattem
From Amsterdam, Netherlands, Daniel Hattem is a qualified journalist who has worked in both media and non-media roles...

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