Mississippi Rejects Online Gambling Bill Again

Published Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - Online-Casinos.com

The Mississippi legislature has seen Democrat representative Bobby Moak introduce online gambling legislation, once again, the second time in less than twelve months. Unfortunately the bill which would have seen an established a regulatory framework for online gambling, including poker, within state borders as well as create the Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2013. It was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, just last month but according to the bill’s information page on the Mississippi legislature’s website, HB 254 was rejected in committee on February 5. Bill HB 254 was virtually identical to HB 1373 which was also rejected at the committee level soon after it was introduced.

HB 254 would have had online gambling operators pay a tax of 5 percent of gross wagering revenues. 75 percent of those taxes would have been paid to the Mississippi Gaming Commission Fund the goal of which would be to combat crime taking place on the internet while the remainder would have gone to the State General Fund. A $100,000 non-refundable deposit just to apply for a license to operate in Mississippi was another request of the proposed legislation. Should the prospective operator be granted a license, this fee would have been applied to the licensing fee. The initial fee would have been set at around $200,000 and renewal fees at around $100,000. Additionally operators would have had to pay over $100,000 to the State General Fund each year plus another $100,000 to the Mississippi Gaming Commission Fund.

Moak detailed his reasoning behind his introduction of the online gambling legislation, in the text of the Bill. “An effective state regulatory and licensing system for online gaming would inhibit underage wagering and otherwise protect vulnerable individuals, ensure that the games offered through the Internet are fair and safe, stop sending much-needed jobs and tax and fee revenue overseas to illegal operators, provide a significant source of taxable revenue, create jobs and economic development, address the concerns of law enforcement, and ensure that only those persons of good character and fitness, who meet strict criteria set forth in law and regulations, are suitable to facilitate and conduct online gaming activities.”

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