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Legislation for Poker & Income Taxes for Poker Players Discussions of various poker-related laws and steps players can take to push for better laws.

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Old 01-23-2013, 06:49 AM   #1
PokerXanadu
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State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

Mississippi House Bill No. 254: Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2013
Tracking Link
Bill Text Link PDF
Bill Text Link HTML

Article: Mississippi Online Gambling Effort Resurrected: Lawmaker Who Failed At Proposal In 2012 Back At It In 2013

Bill Cliffs:

Current gaming licensees can obtain a permit for operating Internet wagering (poker and all other casino games). Renewals for one to five years.
No Internet cafes allowed.

Gaming commission will issue regulations and must approve all games, licensee internal controls, employees, service providers and hardware and software (independent testing labs will be used).

Authorizes the State of Mississippi to bring court action to seize the domains of unlawful (unlicensed) sites that offer play to players in MS. Domains can be seized through court order to the site registrar or US registry. Can also order ISPs to block the sites. State will also maintain a blacklist of unlicensed sites for ISPs to block. ISPs can also receive court orders to close the accounts of subscribers (players) who access unlawful sites.

Players must be located in MS. (can be non-residents)
Players must be 21+

To open a player account, must provide proof of age and residency as demonstrated by at least two (2) forms of identification approved by the commission.

No employees of a licensee may open an account with their site (but can have player accounts at other licensee sites).

Deposits allowed by: cash, check, money order, bank wire, electronic transfer, debit cards, credit cards.
Withdrawals allowed by: in-person, check or electronic transfer.
Deposits and withdrawals can be made in-person at the b&m.
No interest can be paid on player accounts.

Promotional credits, incentives from loyalty or similar programs, bonuses, or complimentary amenities are allowed.

The gaming licensee may apply chargeback, inactivity, or other fees or charges against an account holder's Internet wagering account.

All wagering is considered to be take place in MS regardless of intermediate routing.

Internal controls for sites must include (among other things) procedures for the security of information and funds in an Internet wagering (player) account.

All site equipment must be located in licensee's b&m facilities.

It is unlawful for a person to knowingly alter, tamper, or manipulate software, computers or other equipment used to conduct Internet wagering, in order to alter the odds or the payout of an Internet game, or to disable the Internet game from operating according to the rules of the game: up to $50K fine per violation for an individual or $200K for company.

Existing laws and regulations against cheating and fraud at b&m's will apply to sites.

License fee: $200K or more; renewal fee: $100K or more; amount needed to cover costs of licensing and regulation.
Non-refundable deposit with application: $100K, applied to license fee.
In addition, sites pay $100K per year for State General Fund and $100K per year for Mississippi Gaming Commission Fund.

5% gross revenue site tax, paid monthly (75% to Mississippi Gaming Commission Fund and 25% to State General Fund).
Gross revenue includes jackpot money.

Dormant player accounts after one year are closed: half the money to the Mississippi Gaming Commission Fund, half the money to the licensee to be used for marketing the State of Mississippi as a tourist destination.

Criminal penalties for illegal online gambling (including players): up to $10K fine or up to 90 days in county jail or both.
Criminal penalties for operating illegal online gambling site: individual up to $100K fine or up to 10 years in State Penitentiary or both. company up to $250K fine.

In addition, for both players and sites convicted of illegal online gambling, the following will be forfeited:
any computer equipment and software used
any real or personal property traceable to gross profits or other proceeds obtained
any real or personal property used to commit or to promote the commission of such offense

Allows sites to offer Internet wagering on sporting events (although must be legal under Federal law and authorized by state gaming commission).

Effective July 1, 2013. (if passed)

Last edited by PokerXanadu; 01-23-2013 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:56 AM   #2
tamiller866
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

Since this bill is almost identical to the one proposed last year, here's a link to that discussion - Online Gaming Bill Introduced in Mississippi

And a blog post editorializing why the bill failed last year, but was expected to resurface: Failed online gambling bill will likely be back next year (Salter)

Quote:
The other lessons from the ghosts of sin taxes past are that sin tax efforts produce strange political bedfellows. Want to change a local option liquor law? Then prepare to fight both the local churches and the local bootleggers.

Want to change Mississippi gaming laws? Then prepare to fight both the religious community and the entrenched gaming industry.

Since the inception of legal casino gaming in Mississippi in the 1990s, efforts to enact a state lottery or other major changes have met with opposition from the churches and from the big casino companies.

So when Democratic State Rep. Bobby Moak introduced House Bill 1373 during the 2012 session, religious critics of any expansion of legal gaming of any kind in Mississippi reacted.

But this time, many of the big casino companies supported Moak's attempt.

Last edited by tamiller866; 01-23-2013 at 11:02 AM. Reason: quote
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:40 AM   #3
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

Quote:
Originally Posted by PokerXanadu View Post
No Internet cafes allowed.
I have not seen a requirement like this before. I wonder if it includes Starbucks, etc.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:13 PM   #4
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

Quote:
Originally Posted by VP$IP View Post
I have not seen a requirement like this before. I wonder if it includes Starbucks, etc.
That's just my synopsis/cliff - the bill doesn't actually say "internet cafe". It simply forbids what this term implies - offering Internet gambling terminals from a public house.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:10 PM   #5
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

So:
Player penalties very bad.
Gross revenue term is vague to me (I would think just rake, profit form pit and sports betting, but jackpot term is strange. Is that the handling and administrative portion of the jackpot pool?)
No mention of potential player pooling.
Must be a resident, not just present in the state.

Overall looks good except for the player penalties. Not ideal, but not bad IMO if they nix those.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:13 PM   #6
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

Quote:
Originally Posted by fnord_too View Post
So:
Player penalties very bad.
Gross revenue term is vague to me (I would think just rake, profit form pit and sports betting, but jackpot term is strange. Is that the handling and administrative portion of the jackpot pool?)
No mention of potential player pooling.
Must be a resident, not just present in the state.

Overall looks good except for the player penalties. Not ideal, but not bad IMO if they nix those.
The way I read it, the whole of any jackpot drop would be counted as gross revenue for the site and taxed at 5%.

There is no requirement to be a resident of MS to play. You have to prove your residency to register an account (i.e. provide proof of current address), but it doesn't say your residency has to be in MS.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:19 PM   #7
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

Quote:
Originally Posted by VP$IP View Post
I have not seen a requirement like this before. I wonder if it includes Starbucks, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PokerXanadu View Post
That's just my synopsis/cliff - the bill doesn't actually say "internet cafe". It simply forbids what this term implies - offering Internet gambling terminals from a public house.
Here is the pertinent provision from the bill:
Quote:
(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the operation of a place of public accommodation, club or association (including one limited to dues-paying members or similar restricted groups), cafeteria, or similar establishment that allows access to the Internet for gambling, unless licensed under the provisions of Sections 1 through 18 of this act.
I suppose a strict interpretation and enforcement might put places like Starbucks in hot water if anyone boots up Internet gambling on their computer there.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:07 AM   #8
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

Quote:
Originally Posted by PokerXanadu View Post
The way I read it, the whole of any jackpot drop would be counted as gross revenue for the site and taxed at 5%.
Ok that makes sense. So instead of X% going to the house, it will be X+5%.

I totally missed the residency details; if player penalties are removed this looks pretty decent.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:19 AM   #9
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

Quote:
Originally Posted by fnord_too View Post
Ok that makes sense. So instead of X% going to the house, it will be X+5%.
Don't think you have it quite right yet (or mistyped it at least). If X is the amount of the jackpot drop, then X*95% stays with the house for the jackpot prize pool and X*5% goes to the State of MS as part of the site taxes. Also note that there is no provision which specifies that all of a jackpot drop (less amount of site tax) must be returned to the players as prizes. However, that might be covered in other general MS gambling laws and regulations - I haven't researched it.

Quote:
I totally missed the residency details; if player penalties are removed this looks pretty decent.
Yes, decent. Removal of player penalties should be #1 priority, imo. I'd also like to see more specifics about segregation of player funds and the door left open to interstate/international compacting and pooling.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:08 PM   #10
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

I meant, they take x% of the jackpot drop for administration or whatever. (My understanding is that the jackpot fund is usually already skimmed, now it will be skimmed 5% more).
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:44 PM   #11
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

Quote:
Authorizes the State of Mississippi to bring court action to seize the domains of unlawful (unlicensed) sites that offer play to players in MS. Domains can be seized through court order to the site registrar or US registry. Can also order ISPs to block the sites. State will also maintain a blacklist of unlicensed sites for ISPs to block. ISPs can also receive court orders to close the accounts of subscribers (players) who access unlawful sites.
Has this been done before in any kind of bill before State or Fed. ie, The bullying of ISPs and domain seize at the State level?
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:27 PM   #12
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

Lol at the seizing of domains. Good luck with that.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:42 PM   #13
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

Thanks for the links and cliffs.

Has Mississippi boldly gone where Nevada fears to tread ?

Apparently, Mississippi actually read the UIGEA correctly, in my view:

"Pursuant to the federal law entitled "Unlawful Internet 41 Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006," known as UIGEA and cited as 31 42 USCS 5301, the State of Mississippi finds that the state 43 regulation of legal gaming in this state, and the provisions of 44 this Mississippi Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2013, prescribe a 45 lawful exemption to UIGEA and specifically authorize use of the 46 Internet to place, receive, or otherwise knowingly transmit a bet 47 or wager."

"Further, the State of Mississippi finds that any 51 question regarding the state's authority to regulate lawful 52 Internet gaming that may have resulted from interpretations that 53 such gaming violated certain other federal anti-gambling laws has 54 been vacated by action of the United States Department of Justice 55 on December 23, 2011."

No more "poker only" bills ?

I think it is worth noting that recently States, including Delaware, NJ, and perhaps Miss, which have licensed casio gambling across the board, are not hamstrung by the "poker only" tactic tried, unsuccessfully, to grease the wheels for Federal legislation and a Nevada-favorable licensing scheme.

It may be time for poker players to look for poker as part of a broader measure at the State level, and organize criteria by which to judge emerging State efforts. FWIW, any word from the PPA or its Mississippi State Director on this proposal, including the criminal penalties provisions ?

Domain seizures ?

As for domain seizures, it has been tried before .... by Kentucky. How successful that was depends upon how success is defined. The truth is that, absent subsequent Federal blocking, most domains were not impacted at all as the matter was hotly litigated in Kentucky. OTH, Kentucky did get some $ from some sites to settle.

Since the more recent federal activity blocking domain names, i.e. Black Friday, most US facing sites have migrated to .eu domains and foreign registrars. (The ability of a State to force a foreign registrar to cough up a domain was denied by a court in the UK looking at the FullTilt domain. Of course, once the SDNY got into the arena, and went to Verisign instead of the registrar, that victory for .coms was kind of moot.)

Last edited by DonkeyQuixote; 01-25-2013 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:42 AM   #14
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

'Not A Lot Of Hope' For iGaming Bill In Mississippi
Bill's Author Says Legislation 'Keeps The Conversation Alive' In 2013
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:33 AM   #15
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

^^ Ugh. Not a good sign when the poker world's biggest puff piece producer says there is not a lot of hope. It's still good to see that the topic is alive and well, though.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:12 AM   #16
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

Moak's online gaming bill dies second year in a row
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Old 01-15-2015, 10:40 PM   #17
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Re: State Legislation: Mississippi House Bill No. 254

2015 brings a new bill - http://www.4flush.com/online-poker-n...enalties/18399
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