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Mississippi Online Gambling Laws

Players in Mississippi who are interested in obtaining helpful information regarding the legality of Mississippi online gambling and land based gambling will find this guide a strong resource. We cover a variety of legal aspects concerning gambling, such as legal brick and mortar options, as well as a range of online venues, including Mississippi online sports betting, casino games, poker rooms and bingo gaming. The varying political climate in the US has made it rather confusing to determine what legal opportunities are available to players. We cover both state and federal laws and how they affect gamblers.

Mississippi Gambling Laws do permit Class III gaming, and there is only one tribal compact in the state, which belongs to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. There are also cruise vessels which operate casino games in Mississippi, and these are restricted to specific counties which allow such activity.

Mississippi Gambling Law Definitions

Playing any game for money or any other valuable thing is a crime in Mississippi unless the game is specifically legal under state law. Under Mississippi law, participating in a game that is not legal is an illegal act. While the definition of a game under Mississippi gambling law requires the game to be a banking or percentage game, the law lists poker as an example. Poker does not have to be a banking or percentage game. Keeping or exhibiting game or gaming tables is a crime in Mississippi.

One aspect of Mississippi gambling law that stands out when compared to gambling laws in other states is that in Mississippi, a person convicted of illegal gambling can be made to pay the amount of money he or she won at the illegal gambling event as an additional fine.

Social Gambling Laws in Mississippi

In most states, the gambling law makes a specific exception for social gambling by limiting the amount the money that can be gambled or imposing certain restrictions like no entry fee or raking of the pot by the house. Mississippi gambling law however has no such provisions. In fact, Mississippi gambling law makes social gambling illegal. Home poker games will therefore run afoul of Mississippi gambling law.

History of Mississippi Gambling Laws

Gambling was very popular amongst the Indian tribes in Mississippi in the 1700s. They regularly wagered on a game called ishtabodi. Card games were popular with the European settlers. Gambling was very popular in every social setting from saloons to riverboats. The first horse racing track in the state opened in 1795. Gambling continued to flourish even after Mississippi attained statehood in 1817 and continued to do until 1942 when gambling was made illegal and the state began to crack down on illegal gambling. However despite the crackdown, gambling continued behind closed doors. In the 1960s, illegal, but wide-open, casinos were operated by what became known as the "Dixie Mafia." Biloxi, Mississippi, which has more casinos and casino gambling space than Atlantic City, has a long history of public official corruption and illegal gambling that would rival, or surpass, that of Atlantic City

Mississippi legalized dockside gambling in 1990 when the Mississippi Gaming Control Act was passed allowing casinos to be set up on the Mississippi River or Gulf Coast. The state Gaming Commission was set up to oversee the casinos. Casinos were limited to the waters along the coast (including the Bay of St. Louis and the Back Bay of Biloxi), along the Mississippi River, and in navigable waters that border the river.

Mississippi State Lottery and Riverboat Gambling Laws

To this day, lotteries remain constitutionally prohibited in Mississippi. An attempt to legalize the lottery in 2010 failed. It is one of the few states in the country without a state lottery. In authorizing riverboat gambling, the Mississippi legislature defined riverboat gambling as a distinct form of activity not covered by the constitutional ban on lotteries. As a result, players aboard Mississippi riverboats can play craps, blackjack, and slot machines, but no lottery tickets can be sold. The first casino opened in 1992. Since that time the Mississippi gambling industry has grown phenomenally. Today there are many operational casinos in the state including a few Indian tribal casinos. Many of these casinos offer poker. For those who aren't interested in a floating gambling experience, there are legally licensed and regulated Mississippi online casinos which have been servicing players from Mississippi and the US in general for years. There are also some high quality legal Mississippi poker rooms and online bingo halls that provide reliable and trusted gambling options.

Mississippi Charitable Gambling Laws

Other than casinos authorized under the Mississippi Gaming Control Act, charitable gambling is the only other legalized form of gambling in the state. In 1992 the state passed the Charitable Bingo Law legalizing charitable gambling. Nonprofit organizations, associations, groups, or clubs that were registered with the Secretary of State can conduct charitable gambling events. Bingo, pull tabs, electronic bingo machines and electronic pull tab machines can be used for charitable gambling events. Eligible organizations include nonprofit educational, civic, religious, wildlife conservation and veterans' organizations and senior citizen clubs domiciled in Mississippi and having proof of tax-exempt status under Section 501(c) or (d) of the US Internal Revenue Code.

Mississippi Online Gambling Laws

Mississippi gambling law as it stands today does not address the issue of online poker or online gambling. However since playing any game for money or any other valuable thing is a crime in Mississippi unless the game is specifically legal, playing online poker or casino games can run afoul of Mississippi gambling law. This compounded by the fact that it is illegal to operate an online gambling site within the state's borders. For this reason players living or visiting Mississippi are wise to restrict their online gambling participation to legally licensed and certified gambling sites which are subject to strict regulatory oversight by governing jurisdictions which have specifically legalized online gambling within their respective territories.

Efforts To Legalize State Regulated Online Gambling In Mississippi

In 2012, State Representative Bobby Moak introduced the Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2012 seeking to legalize online gambling. The bill however died in the Ways and Means Committee. In 2013 he once again introduced a bill seeking to legalize online gambling but the bill failed. He now plans to introduce another bill to regulate online gambling in Mississippi in 2014.

Federal Gambling Laws Affecting Mississippi Players

There are currently not any federal gambling laws which prohibit or criminalize participating in online gambling. The commonly referenced UIGEA bill which was passed 2006 does not prohibit online gambling for US players. The law does not address players or participation at all. The law simply places regulatory oversight on how online gambling transactions can be processed, which addresses gambling site operators and payment processors. At this time there is not any legislation providing federal legalization of online gambling, and the DOJ has determined that each state can decide for themselves how they would like to approach the topic of online gambling.

Mississippi Gambling Laws

Players who are interested in reviewing the gaming act for the state of Mississippi can visit the State of Mississippi Website for access to the laws and statutes in their entirety and original context.

**This site is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as any type of professional legal advice or services. If you are seeking professional legal services or professional interpretation of any law or statute, we recommend that you contact an attorney. We are not attorneys and are not qualified to provide legal services.