Tuesday August 6,2013 : MISSISSIPPI'S MOAK TO TAKE ANOTHER RUN AT LEGALISING ONLINE GAMBLING
Never-say-die Rep. Moak says state needs to tap into the inevitable
Mississippi state Representative Bobby Moak, a Democrat representing the Bogue Chitto district, is about to take another run at legalising intrastate online gambling despite at least three previous failures.
The state's land gambling interests have not fared well recently, prompting Moak to suggest that the best bet for raising tax revenues is online gaming, currently illegal in Mississippi.
Moak told the Associated Press news agency that he'll again try to pass a bill to regulate, license and tax online gaming at 5 percent of gross revenue.
But he emphasised that only companies with licensed land casinos in Mississippi would be allowed to operate online.
"Online gaming is going on right now – it's happening," Moak said Monday. "We need to tap into that."
His comments came on the heels of a poor performance from Mississippi land gambling casinos, with state gambling revenues down at $2.25 billion.
Mississippi was once the nation's third-largest gambling market, but has lost standing in the last few years due to competition from neighbouring states, reducing tax contributions to the state budget.
Cities like Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis overtook Mississippi last year in the American Gaming Association's list of the top 20 U.S. casino markets, as did Philadelphia, Pa., and the state of Connecticut.
"Early on, a lot of our visitors came from Oklahoma and Nebraska," said Lyn Arnold, president and CEO of the Tunica County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation. "Now, Oklahoma has 92 gaming facilities. The competition has been a big drain."