Mississippi seeks to join Nevada and Delaware as the only states in the US to offer legalized internet gambling to their residents and travelers. With the US Department of Justice mandating that each individual state in the US should be able to dictate their own online gambling laws, some Mississippi lawmakers have been aggressively pursuing a legalized online gambling package for the Magnolia State. Their 2012 proposal did not survive, and they are back pushing for a 2013 effort.
Mississippi House Bill number 254 was put forth by State Representative Bobby Moak just last week, and it is titled the Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2013. Similar to last year’s failed legislation, but tweaked to garner unilateral support from legislators on both sides of the aisle, the bill would okay all types of Mississippi gambling online that are already offered in the state’s brick and mortar casinos. Including but not limited to poker, video poker and Las Vegas style casino table games, there is one major provision.
Only those companies which currently own and operate the 30 physical Mississippi casinos would be allowed to qualify for a license under the bill. Gaming would be limited to residents and travelers inside the state’s borders who are 21 years of age or older, and can prove their identity. Two forms of identification are required in the current internet gaming package, and all verification is to be handled through an online process which also sets up the player’s account.
Any employees currently working at one of the Mississippi casinos would be barred from playing at the online casino offered by their place of business. However, they would be allowed to enjoy online gambling from a competing casino’s website. The proposed internet gaming legislation calls for multiple deposit options, including check, money order, E-check, E-wallet, wire transfer, debit cards and credit cards. In a unique move, players could even deposit cash into their accounts at the physical host casino’s cage.
Another unique proposition not currently in place in Nevada or Delaware calls for an inactivity fee. If a Mississippi player online does not log into their account for a one-year period of time, they forfeit all funds in the account. A $200,000 application fee is required, and a suitability process for the company’s officers and major employees is then conducted. Online software testing is the next phase of licensing, age and location verification systems must be approved, and a $200,000 annual licensing fee would then be required each year. With many of the Mississippi casinos owned by Nevada companies who already own licenses for internet poker in the Silver State, casino support for this new online gambling legislation is a foregone conclusion.