Bobby Moak, the State Representative of Mississippi last week re-introduced the online gaming bill to state legislature. This is another chance to try to legalize interstate Online Gambling, in the state of Mississippi. Last year he had a similar effort shot down.
The House Bill number 254 is aimed at establishing a regulatory framework for gaming online, this includes online poker, with a stated goal of creating a lawful Mississippi Internet Gaming Act of 2013.
Representative Moak a member of the House Ways and Means Committee referred to the act to them.
The bill is essentially identicl to the HB 1373 bil that was introduced last year by Mr Moak on February 20, 2012, but was rejected in march 2912.
Mr Moak’s reasons for the legalization and the regulation of interstate online gaming is summarized in Section 1 of the bill and taken from the bill introduced last year:
A state regulatory and licensing system for gambling online, that is effective, could inhibit underage wagering and also protect individuals who are vulnerable. It would also ensure that the games that are offered online are safe and fair. It will also stop much needed jobs and tax revenue being sent overseas on illegal operators. It will also create jobs, provide a source of significant taxable revenue and improve economic development. It will address law enforcement concerns and ensure that people who operate online gaming are of good character and fitness that meet the strict criteria that are set forth in the law and regulations, and are suitable to be able to facilitate and conduct activities online.
In Section 15 of the HB 254 has outlined the fees that would be involved in licensing. Operators would have to produce a non-refundable deposit of $100,000 to be able to apply for an internet wagering permit. If the operator is approved the deposit would be applied towards the license issuance fee. Initially the issuance fee will be $200,000 and renewable fees world be $100,000, this will be based on costs of maintenance of enforcement, regulation and control of internet wagering.
Operators will also be required to pay $100,000 annually to the states General Fund and a further $100,000 to the Mississippi Gaming Commission Fund, the commission will use this fund for combatting criminal activity that takes place through the use of the Internet. The Licenses are for a 5 year period.
In addition to all of this operators will also have to pay a monthly fee – a tax of sorts – which will be about 5%of the gross wagering revenues. 25% of the fee will be for the states General Fund and 75% for the Mississippi ‘Gaming Commission Fund’. It is to be noted that Sports Betting will not be allowed under this bill.
Gamers have to be over the ageof 21 in order to play at the licensed sites, they must also be located in Mississippi. Players will have to produce proof of residency and age by producing documentation to show the operators.
Prior to being granted a license, the operators will be required to how that they have systems in place that blocks underage and out of state players, correct account security.