Mississippi has re-introduced an online poker bill that is almost identical to the one that failed in 2012.
The State of Mississippi has reintroduced a poker bill, less than a year after their 2012 Bill failed. The Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2013 is almost identical to the 2012 bill that did not get past the committee stage.
The bill claims that together with the state’s gaming laws, it offers an exemption from UIGEA. A Department of Justice memo dated December 23, 2011 is brought as supporting evidence for the authority of the state to legalize Internet poker.
The bill allows the Mississippi Gaming Commission to issue online wagering permits and gambling licenses for a period of five years. These licensed will cost $200,000 and will require a $100,000 annual deposit to both the Mississippi Gaming Commission Fund and the State General Fund. A 5 percent tax on gross gaming revenues will also be implemented.
In addition, the Gaming Commission will have the power for requiring Internet service providers to block access to the sites of unlicensed operators or to seize the Internet domains of these sites. Licensed sites will be able to offer land-based games online to players aged 21 or older.
The bill also stipulates that each player must sign a penalty of perjury form and must provide an email address, as well as a physical address. Casino employees will be banned from playing at sites owned by their employer.
Sponsor Rep. Bobby Moak is hopeful that the bill this year will at least go to a vote. While last year it died within two weeks of being introduced due to lack of support, Moak and other supporters are hoping that this year, the introduction of new regulations and the decline in the casino gross gaming revenue in the state may encourage more support.
Gross revenues for casino gaming in Mississippi declined for the fifth year in a row and they look unlikely to improve in the near future. Currently, only the states of Nevada and Delaware have passed online poker bills; although even in those states, the games are not yet available. New Jersey’s online poker bill is still waiting on a signature from Gov. Christie.