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Mississippi Online Poker & Gambling Legislation

Online Poker MississippiMississippi has a long history when it comes to gambling. Tunica, MS is well known for their casinos. In fact, the Harrahs Casinos in Tunica boasts that it is the largest casino between Atlantic Casino and Las Vegas. You will have no problem finding plenty of poker action in Tunica, MS.

Chris Moneymaker is a frequent visitor to the casinos in Tunica. He became famous when he won the WSOP in 2003. He won his entrance into the tournament by playing at a satellite tournament at an online poker site. His win has been credited for the massive wave in online poker. [1]

Can Players From Mississippi Play Real Money Poker Online?

Yes! Mississippi has taken no action to block internet sites from their state. Residents of Mississippi have a large variety of sites to choose from when it comes to playing real money poker online. As many online poker players know, Black Friday in 2011 forced several large poker sites to pull out of the US. These sites do not offer their games to players in the US, but there are many other sites that do.

Most US facing sites are smaller sites, but don’t let that deter you from playing. There are many reputable sites that have a lot of money up for grabs that are still accepting players from the US. You will have your choice of ring games, sit ‘n go tournaments, multi table tournaments with huge guarantees, and satellite tournaments to major land based poker tournaments at these sites.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in Mississippi?

The legality of playing online poker in Mississippi is considered a grey area. The state does not have any laws on the books that specifically mention playing poker online. We are not the authority on the laws of Mississippi, but we do know that no individual has ever been charged in Mississippi for playing poker online. We have reviewed the gambling laws of Mississippi, and we have highlighted some laws that may be interpreted to pertain to online poker below:

  • Mississippi defines illegal gambling as betting or wagering on virtually anything outside of a legal establishment If any person shall wager or bet, promote or encourage the wagering or betting of any money or other valuable things, upon any game upon conviction thereof, he shall be fined in a sum not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00); and, unless such fine and costs be immediately paid, shall be imprisoned for any period not more than ninety (90) days. However, this section shall not apply to betting, gaming or wagering in a legal establishment.(Section 97-33-1) [2]
  • Mississippi has proposed legislation 2 times recently to legalize online gambling. [3] Both measures have failed at this point, but the state plans to try again.
  • The law seems to make home poker games illegal.
  • Bingo is the only legal charitable gambling in Mississippi.

This is our interpretation of the gambling laws in Mississippi. We are not lawyers, and we are definitely not the authority on the laws of Mississippi. If you are concerned about the legality of playing poker online in Mississippi then we suggest that you contact a lawyer in the state to clarify the laws.

Mississippi Gambling History

Gambling in Mississippi has a long history dated back to the early Indians. Indians originally gambled on the popular stick ball game that they called ishtaboli. This game was highly competitive. The object of the game was to score by using a stick to toss a ball into the other team’s goal post. History tells us that these were some high stakes games where a person often wagered all of their belongings.

In the 18th Century Europeans and Africans migrated to Mississippi and brought new forms of gambling with them. Gambling on checkers, billiards, and card games was very popular. In 1795, the Fleetfield Race Trace was completed, and betting was common on the horse races.

Mississippi officially became a state in 1817, and gambling was already a way of life for many people living in the area. The Gulf of Mexico was a popular tourist attraction. The hotels in the area offered entertainment for the guests including gambling. Riverboat gambling also became popular in Mississippi in the early years. The towns of Vicksburg and Natchez were popular gambling locations.

Many hotels were built specifically to cater to gamblers in the early 1930s. These hotels offered slot games along with other games to their guests. It was a very profitable adventure for the state of Mississippi. All of the gambling was taxed by a federal tax and a state tax.

In the early 1950s a movement was organized to outlaw gambling on the coast of Mississippi. They were successful at drawing attention to the massive amount of illegal gambling that was going on in the state. Law officials that had been turning a blind eye to illegal gambling were forced to take action due to massive publicity of the situation. Slot machines were seized and dumped into the Back Bay, and several owners of the machines were arrested.

The gambling industry in Mississippi did not move forward for many years after the 1950s. However, when Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi Coast in 1969 the cash strapped state started taking another look at gambling. The state had been raking in money from the gambling industry along the Coast prior to the hurricane, but it did not survive the hurricane.

The National Indian Gaming Act of 1988 brought gambling back to the state of Mississippi. The Choctaw Indians in Mississippi opened the Silver Star Casino in 1994. The Indian Gaming Act also prompted the legislators of Mississippi to take another look at gambling. The state was in dire need of money, and legalizing gambling was sure to be a huge resource for the state. In 1990, Mississippi passed an Act legalizing casino gambling along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast. You will find over 30 casinos in Mississippi today. Tunica, MS is a popular destination for people around the United States. It has become so popular that they have even added an airport. [4]

Legalized Gambling Options in Mississippi

Mississippi is well known for their casinos. Tunica, MS is one of the most popular gambling destinations in the south. Prior to the legalization of casinos in the 1990s, Tunica was one of the most impoverished counties in the United States. Today, Tunica is the third largest gaming region in the United States. [5]

You would think that with all of the casino action in Mississippi that the state would have several options for gambling, but that is not the case. In fact, aside from charitable bingo, casinos are the only legal gambling venues in the state of Mississippi. Mississippi is one of the few states that does not have a state lottery.

Will Mississippi Legalize Online Poker in the Future?

Mississippi State Rep. Bobby Moak is bound and determined to legalize online gambling in the state of Mississippi. Thus far he has had 2 failed attempts, but he plans to introduce legislation again in 2014. It seems very likely that Mississippi will legalize online gambling in the future. The previous legislation presented seems to promote several aspects of online gambling; not just poker. Maybe 2014 will be the year that Mr. Moak is successful with his plan.

References:

  1. Jump up ^ Chris Moneymaker
  2. Jump up ^ Mississippi Gaming Regulation
  3. Jump up ^ Mississippi Proposes Legalized Online Gambling
  4. Jump up ^ Mississippi Gambling History
  5. Jump up ^ Tunica, Mississippi
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