Online poker is illegal in Mississippi and State authorities have not been very open minded to debate the online poker issue. Bobby Moak, a State Representative has submitted a number of online poker bills in the past but none of them have made any impact.
Moak recently put together a controversial online poker bill called the Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2015 and submitted the same for review. However, the result was the same as State authorities rejected the new bill and did not give it much attention.
The new bill came across as extremely harsh as it imposed large fines along with prison time for individuals who participated and companies who provided illegal online gambling activities. Those found guilty of participating in illegal online gambling activities could face up to 90 days in prison and be required to pay a $10,000 fine.
These harsh penalties did not go down well with the poker community and the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) strong objected and called them “misguided”. The underground online gambling industry has flourished in the United States and has stolen a significant share of the online gambling market. This is because online gamblers prefer to take the risk and play at these illegal websites as they are not subjected to taxes and are also guaranteed a higher payout.
Moak proposed such strong measures because he wants to curb the illegal online gambling industry in Mississippi as there is very small market in Mississippi and profitability will only be possible if there are liquidity-sharing agreements with other States. Moak’s online poker bill highlighted this need to network with other states to ensure profitability and a competitive US online poker market.
Although the new bill was rejected and listed as ‘dead’ on the legislature’s website, Moak said he was not disappointed and believed that a new and better proposal can be worked out for a 2016 submission. Moak stated that he was interested in the reaction from the PPA and other poker experts and will consider their opinion and views while formulation a new bill for 2016.
In a statement, Bobby Moak said
If this legislation gets pulled up and looked at, it will be gone over line by line and so many things will get taken out and put in. There will be plenty of opportunity for different groups to come in and espouse their wishes on how it should be.