MISSISSIPPI LAWMAKERS URGED TO THINK AGAIN ABOUT ONLINE GAMBLING
19th May, 2013 at 04:03:17
Rep. Bobby Moak may just be right....
Mississippi Representative Bobby Moak, a Democrat who has twice failed to achieve online gambling legalisation in his state, may be right, an op-ed article in the Clarion Ledger newspaper postulated over the weekend.
"Mississippi's Republican majority might be well-served to review the pass they've taken on a Democratic lawmaker's initiatives in online gaming. That's a matter of economic impact and tax revenue," the article argues, recording that back in the 'nineties Mississippi ranked third in the nation in terms of gambling revenues, but that it has since dropped to sixth on the US leader-board.
That impacts state tax revenues and detracts from the benefits of tourism. According to the Mississippi Department of Revenue, gaming in the last fiscal year generated $279.7 million in taxes, overall providing 3% of general fund revenues.
Now the prospect of other states legalising online gambling - New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have already done so and there are at least another ten states considering the possibilities - has added new momentum to the legalisation question, and the need for reconsideration.
"Every additional state that enters the online gaming market threatens Mississippi current traditional gaming sales, tax revenues and jobs," the piece observes.
Moak's measures for legalised online gambling both died in committee, and proposed the regulation, licensing and taxation of online gaming at 5% of gross revenues. The bill would have restricted online gaming licenses to those companies already holding land licenses to operate in Mississippi.
Moak argued that the legislation was necessary to allow Mississippi's existing gaming industry to have more control of its own destiny and to allow the state to regulate what will already be taking place online and to tax it as other competing states are doing.
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