Mississippi Online Poker Law
One of the first states to offer casino-style gaming outside of Las Vegas, the late 2000s have not been kind to Mississippi’s casino industry. Facing competition from other states on all three sides of its borders, a devastating hurricane, and major floods, there are fewer and fewer people walking through the doors of its 10 casinos.
Since 2007, revenue has fallen about 25 percent to around $2.15 billion a year, yet most state legislators seem to be content with keeping things exactly how they are. Lawmakers also have the luxury of having a budget surplus: $300 million in 2013. The loss in gambling revenue hurts, but it’s not devastating. Compare the approximately $4 billion deficit of New Jersey, which legalized online gaming. To be sure, Jersey’s financial woes contributed to online gaming’s implementation there.
Mississippi had its chance to be at the forefront in the online poker industry in 2012 and 2013 when an online poker and gambling bill was introduced, but in both years it was killed in a quiet, bloodless death in committee.
Someone even took the time to highlight “dead” in red on the state’s bill-tracking page.
Dead. On. Arrival.
Rep. Bobby Moak is the man who keeps pushing for a pro-Internet gambling law in Mississippi, and despite the fact that a majority of his elected colleagues are fairly conservative, religious folks, he remains optimistic.
“We’re not terribly behind, but we need to be one of the states that comes out of the box,” Moak told the Mississippi Business News. “We need to understand it’s an opportunity to move into position to make this an asset. The religious community has concerns about the expansion of gaming. But this is not an expansion, because it’s already going on.”
He said he plans on reintroducing his bill in 2014.
Further optimism can be garnered from the fact that Caesars Entertainment, the company that owns WSOP.com, owns live casinos in Mississippi. Online poker insiders feel that Caesars might play a lead role in getting standalone online poker bills pushed in states where they already do business. Also look for Churchill Downs Inc., to be a player in Mississippi.
When Will I Get to Play Online Poker in Mississippi?
If Moak got his way, in late 2014. There’s a better chance for online poker legalization to take place in Mississippi if a standalone online poker bill was introduced. In fact, that goes for most states with a large, established casino industry. The reason is simple. According to a study by the American Gambling Association, the largest casino lobbying organization in the United States, online poker will not erode live casino visits, but online casino gaming will. Many of the casinos in Mississippi would not withstand the competition, and they’d do everything to let lawmakers know.
What’s Mississippi’s Potential Online Poker Market?
With about 200,000 potential online poker customers, Mississippi’s online poker players would benefit greatly by taking part in the intrastate online poker network of our dreams. It about the same sized market as Albania, where it’s legal to play online poker.