According to multiple industry reports, the state of Mississippi is heavily reconsidering their stance on online gaming. The southern state considered legalizing online gambling earlier in 2013, but efforts failed less than four weeks after the topic was raised. Mississippi will purportedly resurrect the debate in 2014.
House Gaming Committee Chairman Makes Statement
State representative Richard Bennett is the current House Gaming Committee chair. He stated that hearings on internet gambling are planned during the 2014 legislative session. Unfortunately for supporters of online poker and gambling, Bennett has said that he does not see either being legalized next year.
Moak Also Weighs In
Bobby Moak is another state representative in Mississippi who weighed in on the subject. Back in 2012 he told Card Player Magazine that he feels for a small state that they have done well in the gambling industry. He felt that they had been viewed as a leader because the statutes in the state are similar to the ones enacted in Nevada and New Jersey. Moak stated that he feels that small states, such as Mississippi, need to stay in front of issues like online gaming.
One difference between Nevada, New Jersey, and Mississippi is that the first two have legalized online poker, while the latter has not. Many industry experts believe that Mississippi and California are the next two logical states for creating intra-state legislation to legalize online poker, and perhaps, full blown casino sites. It stands to reason that these two states might be sitting back and waiting to see how effective the rollouts are in both Nevada and New Jersey before moving any further down the road.
A Little About Mississippi
Gaming is nothing new to Mississippi, which is often referred to as the Magnolia State and the Hospitality State of the South. It boasts 30 commercial casinos according to the American Gaming Association, which happens to be the industry’s top lobbyist group in Washington. Casinos were legalized in the state back in 1990, with the first open opening up in 1991. Those with properties in Mississippi include Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts, and Boyd Gaming.
WSOP and WPT Events in the State
The state is also well known on the WSOP and WPT tours. Late January and early February saw Tunica, Mississippi host the WSOP Circuit Event. The stop in Tunica is one of the most popular WSOP Circuit event stops during the entire year. The Main Event, where a WSOP Circuit Ring was awarded, was attended by 102 players and won by Michael Plaxco of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The World Poker Tour (WPT) will return to the state in May of 2014 with the WPT Regional Mississippi: IP Spring Classic in Biloxi.