Mississippi has re-introduced the online poker bill it had introduced in 2012. Called the House Bill 254 or the Mississippi Lawful Internet Gambling Act of 2012, this bill had died a natural death last year, but Bobby Moak, the chief sponsor of this bill, is hopeful that it will be successful this year.
The online poker bill, along with the state’s existing gambling laws, are believed to be capable of providing more customer protection than the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. To make things easier for individual states, the Department of Justice (DoJ) recently published its re-interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961, according to which online casino gaming and online poker gaming are legal activities.
If Mississippi successfully passes this bill into law, the Mississippi Gambling Commission will start issuing licenses to online poker operators just as the Nevada Gambling Commission is currently issuing licenses. These licenses will be considered valid for 5 years, but operators are required to pay a fee of $200k to get the license to launch one online poker room in Mississippi. In addition to the licensing fee, they will have to pay separate fees of $200k, which will be used to solve gambling-related issues.
In addition, the regulatory body in Mississippi will require interested gaming operators to pay “a license fee on the Internet wagering gross revenue per calendar month of a gaming in the amount of five percent of such revenues.”
If Mississippi’s online poker bill is approved, it will protect consumers by making it mandatory for players to be more than 21 years of age before they can gamble. It will be illegal for players below 21 to register for real money play at any Mississippi online poker room. Players will also have to submit documents proving their contact details and age before they can be allowed to wager real money. Mississippi’s online poker bill proposes to make it illegal for casino owners and casino employees to place bets at state-approved gambling venues.
Industry analysts are, however, skeptical about the success of this bill, which could not be successfully passed last year. The people of the state are not gambling friendly and several individuals and organizations are raising their voices against online gambling.
The only US states that have successfully passed online gambling bills are Nevada and Delaware. New Jersey could join their ranks soon if only Governor Chris Christie approves New Jersey’s online poker bill.