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Mississippi Representative Pushes Ahead with Online Gambling Bill

Online gambling bill aims to revitalize Mississippi economy

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Yet another state is pushing ahead with efforts of local regulation of online gambling. This time it is Mississippi that will see another round of the never-ending story. State after state (Nevada, New Jersey, California, and others) wrestles with new rounds of legislative efforts following last year’s failed attempts at changing US gambling laws on a federal level.

In Mississippi, it is Rep. Bobby Moak (D) who is going at it again with a bill that was stopped dead in its tracks last year. The proposal would create a regulatory framework for online gambling, and would allow residents to play online poker in US state.

The proposal argues that legalization would save jobs, keep gaming revenues in the state and provide plenty of benefits to society. A very similar bill did not get beyond committee hearing last year, so Rep. Moak’s repeat move appears overly optimistic.

The congressman obviously expects to use the current push by certain states to leverage a more favorable decision. He is also pointing to decreasing gambling revenues and casino jobs.

Mississippi casinos employ the most people after Nevada and New Jersey, but employment figures have been steadily decreasing. The local gaming industry has also seen the second worst revenue drop in 2011 at 6.3% (right behind New Jersey’s 7%), according to the 2012 American Gaming Association survey. The figures for 2012 are likely to be similarly gloomy.

Supporters of the bill hope that legalization will reverse these trends and pump more revenues into the ailing economy. Even under the proposed law, Internet betting would still be prohibited in Mississippi, since sports betting in the US is legal only in 4 states.

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