The state of Mississippi has avoided the talks of online game play for some time now but with a floundering casino market, the state is about to begin a study of the industry. According to a recent report by the Clarion-Ledger, the gaming revenues in the state are in decline, especially in the Tunica and Mississippi River regions.
Casinos in the state are making less money and the closure of Harrah’s in Tunica last month put a huge damper on the industry. Harrah’s was a popular spot for visitors to the area but was not popular enough apparently to stay open. Jobs and gaming revenue were lost once the casino was shut down.
The state is now beginning to think about online gaming and how it may help the struggling casino gaming market. Richard Bennett is the Chairman of the Mississippi House Gaming Committee and Bennett recently commissioned a task force which is comprised of eight people to begin the study. This task force will look at online gaming in the US and see how it is working for the states that offer iGaming.
Allen Godfrey is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission and he was named the chairman of the task force. For the past three years, Bobby Moak, a representative of the state, has tried to introduce legislation for online gaming but each time the legislation is introduced, it dies in the committee. Moak has basically introduced the same piece of legislation each time, proposing the regulation, licensing and taxing of online gaming. Online gaming licenses would be given to companies that have land licenses in the state for operation of casino gaming.
Moak has stated that the online gaming legislation is necessary to allow the state’s existing gaming industry to have control of their destiny and allow the state to regulate what is already happening online. Mississippi cannot afford to let competitor states begin online gaming and be left behind, especially with existing issues concerning the land-based casino industry. It will be interesting to see what the study shows and if state legislators decide to get in on the new online gambling market in the US.
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