Mississippi’s relationship with legal real money poker and gambling dates back to the early days of the riverboat. One of the only pro-gambling states in the ultra-conservative Deep South, Mississippi or the Magnolia State as it’s sometimes known, and its more than two dozen casinos and live real cash poker betting rooms attract a wide variety of tourists and gambling enthusiasts, most of which reside in one of Mississippi’s more restrictive neighboring states.
Given Mississippi’s long-term affair with games of chance and real money poker games like Texas Hold’em poker, it stands to reason that the Magnolia State’s officials would actively explore the prospect of regulated lawful Internet poker on poker websites and other legit forms of real cash gambling. And while no firm legislation has been passed yet, Mississippi could very well become a hub for online poker players and real money Internet poker pros in the not too distant future.
If you’re in need of a real money US poker site, and wagering in The Birthplace of America’s Music, we’ve sourced sites that will gladly accept your wager.
Mississippi iGaming: Past Headlines
In 2017, Mississippi state officials will once again weigh in on the prospect of regulated legal poker websites and iGaming . This will mark the third consecutive year that the state government debates the merits and viability of real money Internet poker betting.
- 1 Mississippi iGaming: Past Headlines
- 2 Latest Mississippi Poker News
- 3 Can Players From Mississippi Play Poker Online?
- 4 Is Online Poker Legal In Mississippi?
- 5 The Facts
- 6 Fun Fact
- 7 The Bottom Line
- 8 References
However, several key changes to the iGaming Internet poker landscape could propel the 2017 version of Moak’s lawful betting and gambling websites bill through the committee. Most notably, three states (New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware) have launched online gambling and real cash Internet poker operations, with New Jersey proving the viability of such a poker website market.
In other news, over the past 12 months, three of Mississippi’s underperforming brick and mortar poker betting rooms have been forced to shut down. Most notably, the Gold Strike casino’s 13 table real money poker room in MS dealt its last Texas Hold’em poker hand on January 14, 2014 . The most likely reason for the shutdowns of legal real cash poker venues is the overabundance of live poker gambling rooms located throughout the state of Mississippi.
Latest Mississippi Poker News
Online poker in the United States is currently a state-by-state operation, at least when it comes to regulated markets.…
A task force is being established to look again at the prospects for online poker in Mississippi after two previous attempts to pass legislation floundered.…
Mississippi lawmakers will look at the possibility of enacting online gambling legislation next year although similar proposals failed to advance previously.…
The Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2013 has been re-introduced, an online poker bill that is almost identical to the one that failed in 2012.…
Can Players From Mississippi Play Poker Online?
The only real money online poker websites available to players from Mississippi are sites that operate from outside MS and indeed outside the United States. Luckily, there are more than a few reliable offshore real cash poker websites happy to accept players from the Magnolia State looking for some Internet poker gambling action.
Due to MS state’s lenient gambling and poker betting stance and non-restrictive laws, signing up at a US-facing real money poker website has never been easier for Mississippi residents.
Is Online Poker Legal In Mississippi?
The problem with Mississippi’s gambling and betting statues, like so many other states, is that they’re antiquated and make no mention of online wagering or Internet poker. As such, the legality of online poker websites is left largely up to interpretation.
While it’s always best to seek the advice of an attorney before participating in any unregulated poker game, at Internet poker websites or otherwise, we’ve taken the liberty of dissecting Mississippi’s elongated list of gambling and betting statues into a few critical facts for anyone wanting to hit the Texas Hold’em real money Internet poker tables:
- Anyone who shall wager or bet, promote or encourage the wagering or betting of any real money or other valuable things, upon any game, is subject to a fine in a sum not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00). If the fine is not immediately paid, the guilty party shall be imprisoned for any period not more than ninety (90) days. However, those gambling or betting at a licensed facility like a casino or real cash poker room in MS are exempt from the aforementioned law.
- Notice that the penalties for poker gambling and other real money betting are relatively minor in MS compared to those imposed by other Deep South states, many of which charge real money poker players with misdemeanors.
- A gambling game is defined as a banking or percentage game played with cards, with dice or with any mechanical, electromechanical or electronic device or machine for money, property, checks, credit or anything of value. Section 75-76-5  goes onto list real cash poker as a gambling game, despite the measure of skill required to succeed in poker gambling.
In addition to the $500 fine, anyone caught gambling may be subject to pay the total sum of their real money poker winnings while engaged in the illegal act. Section 97-33-5
- Ownership of a gambling or betting device is classified as a misdemeanor and subject to a $500 fine and up to 3 months in a Mississippi prison. Subsequent violations of legal gambling laws in MS can result in increased prison time and fines. Section 97-33-7(3).
To read the entirety of Mississippi’s gambling and poker betting statues, please refer to the complete state code, listed in the “References” section .
The History of Gambling in Mississippi
Despite Mississippi’s long and storied gambling and real money poker history, chock full of legendary lore and iconic figures, the state only legalized land-based casinos and real cash poker venues less than a decade ago.
According to early gambling accounts, Native Americans local to the area enjoyed a game entitled Ishtaboli. Unlike real money poker but much like today’s sporting events, the outcome of Ishtaboli games was wagered upon by spectators betting by the sidelines. Except instead of real money, the tribesmen wagered their possessions. Many a Native American lost the totality of their belongings wagering and gambling on Ishtaboli.
Later on, the early European settlers would introduce real cash poker and other card variants to Mississippi. Given its location along the river sharing its namesake, legit gambling and betting soon became exceedingly popular on riverboats.
In 1795, the state’s first horseracing betting track was established – Fleetfield Race Track. However, since that time horseracing, as well as pari-mutuel betting, was made illegal.
In fact, by 1942 all forms of gambling and betting were prohibited, including real money poker games like Texas Hold’em poker. Unfortunately for law enforcement agencies, previously legal poker gambling was so engrained in Mississippians blood that real cash poker betting continued behind closed doors.
Finally, after nearly 50 years of gambling and poker betting being prohibited, the Mississippi Gaming Control Act legalized riverboat casinos and lawful poker gambling rooms operating on the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. Fifteen years later in 2005, the newly-minted Mississippi Gaming Commission legalized regulated land-based casinos and real cash poker card rooms. Thanks to these two historic changes, the Magnolia State now boasts over two dozen casinos and real money poker betting destinations.
Regulated Gambling Options in Mississippi
Surprisingly, besides commercial casinos and legal poker venues, Mississippi is rather lacking when it comes to regulated gambling and real money betting options. Charitable gambling is allowed, but only in the forms of bingo and raffles. Casino nights are prohibited, and Mississippi is one of only seven states not to boast a state lottery for gambling fans to win real cash on.
In addition, all types of social gaming, including home games of Texas Hold’em poker, are deemed illegal by Mississippi state law, even if no real money is wagered and no one is gambling their spare change. And while it’s unlikely that MS law authorities would actively raid home poker betting games, the possibility still exists and looms over poker gambling fans.
The Future of Regulated Online Gambling in Mississippi
Right now, Mississippi’s future, at least as far as iGaming and legit Internet poker is concerned, is highly uncertain. Multiple influencing factions are gravely opposed to online gambling in MS, so much so, that any Internet poker bill proposed by Mississippi State Rep. Moak may have trouble passing through the Ways and Means Committee of MS.
In fact, Moak’s prior two Internet poker website gambling bills met so much resistance from religious and ultra-conservative groups, that they were dismissed within two weeks. Further compounding matters, all attempts to legalize a statewide real money lottery have fallen on deaf ears.
However, there are some positive signs. The state boasts over $250 million in annual tax revenue from casino and real money poker gambling. In addition, the success of other iGaming and Internet poker markets, along with Florida’s possible entry into the real cash poker websites mix, could influence Mississippi lawmakers to take a second look at the issue of legal Internet poker gambling in MS. If anything, MS State Representative Richard Bennett has already made it abundantly clear that hearings and discussions on Internet gambling and betting on real money poker websites in Mississippi will make their way into the state’s 2014 legislative conferences.
Poker players in Mississippi certainly play online, but online poker is neither legal nor regulated in the state and, thus, playing is a tad risky.
The Mississippi Straddle , unlike a normal real money poker straddle which must be placed under the gun, allows poker gambling players to straddle from any position, including the button. In the aforementioned case, the small blind would act first pre-flop and the button would be given last action on every street, granting him a huge strategic poker betting advantage.
Although Mississippi may one day regulate online gambling and real money Internet poker, the state of MS would be hard pressed to sustain a thriving online poker community of real money poker website players without some help. Whereas New Jersey, and its 9 million citizens, enjoy the advantage of being located next to two major cities (New York City and Philadelphia) to draw in the poker gambling crowds, Mississippi has no such luxury.
No, three million residents, many of them conservatives with no interest in gambling or real cash poker, will not be enough to keep an entire Internet poker gambling market in MS afloat. Therefore, without an interstate Internet poker compact with a neighboring state, poker websites wouldn’t be a part of a Mississippi iGaming real money Internet betting roll out. And unfortunately, the only relatively nearby state considering legalizing online gambling and real money Internet poker websites is not MS but Florida.