Online Gaming Bill Introduced in Mississippi

By Debra SaundersGoogle

This week, lawmakers in the state of Mississippi have introduced legislation, House Bill 1373 that aims to create the Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act 1 of 2012 that would regulate all forms of online gaming as approved by the Mississippi Gambling Commission.

House Minority Leader Bobby Moak proposed the bill with the intention of creating a licensing system that would grant Internet Wagering Permit holders the authorization to offer online casino games to Mississippi residents over the age of twenty-one.

The bill would also determine the cost of an initial Internet Wagering Permit, at least $200,000 with an annual renewal fee of at least $100,000. Internet Wagering Permits would have a validity of one to five years as determined by the Mississippi Gambling Commission and must undergo a process of renewal upon expiration. The bill also addresses technological and internal control issues required for online gaming licensees.

House Bill 1373 includes a portion that addresses the issue of residents playing illegally as well as the potential consequences of the state not legalizing online casino games. Section one states, “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. Without regulation of online gambling, the public’s trust and confidence in legal gaming is impacted.”

The bill stipulates that only those who are twenty-one and older will only be permitted to play online casino games in Mississippi.

Several top USA casino companies have expressed their support of regulated Internet gambling, including those with casinos in Biloxi. Supporters include Caesars Entertainment of Grand Biloxi Casino; MGM Resorts International of Beau Rivage Resort and Casino; and Boyd Gaming, which last year bought IP Casino Resort.


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