Mississippi lawmakers will look at the possibility of enacting online gambling legislation next year although similar proposals failed to advance previously.
State Rep. Bobby Moak introduced Internet gambling bills in 2012 and 2013 that never gained much steam. But the lawmaker is undaunted and will try again next year.
Both of the earlier proposals were volleyed before online gambling schemes in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey got off the ground. Now that those states have launched successfully with New Jersey’s hard launch commencing today, Moak’s fellow legislators appear ready to take the issue a bit more seriously.
Mississippi State Rep. Richard Bennett told the Sun Herald that he would like the Bayou State
to be out front among the leaders of the pack in online gambling legislation. Although the three states that have already regulated forms of Internet gambling are leading the way, Mississippi could still be considered one of the frontrunners if state legislators passed an igaming bill in early 2014.
Early indications are that only land-based casinos will be allowed to obtain operator’s licenses for hosting gaming sites in Mississippi. Representatives of the Golden Nugget, Grand Casino Biloxi and Beau Rivage Resort & Casino have expressed a desire to get the ball rolling on the Internet gambling issue in order to keep pace with the other states that are moving forward in the state-by-state online gambling format.
Individual states got the greenlight to pass legislation on their own in late 2011 when the DoJ ruled that the 1961 Wire Act pertained only to sports betting. Many states were waiting for federal lawmakers to carve out legislation that each state could either opt in or out of. But federal legislators failed to act quickly and have forced state lawmakers to move on without a plan in place for the entire country to follow.
Each of the three states that have approved online gambling thus far have done things a bit differently. Nevada allows only online poker, Delaware’s Internet poker and casino offerings are overseen by the state lottery, and New Jersey’s hard launch that kicks off today hosts a full slate of games under regulations enforced by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.