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Poker Laws in Mississippi

Is Online Poker Legal Mississippi?
Poker Laws in Mississippi
Last Updated November 17, 2018

Gambling seems almost like it’s in the water in Mississippi.  With a mix of modern casinos and age-old traditions and legends surrounding poker players, gamblers and their ilk, Mississippi has one of the longest and most colorful relationships with gambling of any US state.  Online poker is adding yet another chapter to that story, a chapter that we’ll explore in detail in this guide to Playing Online Poker in Mississippi.

All US-facing online poker sites in our directory accept poker players from Mississippi.  The state lacks any of the prohibitive laws or history of aggressive action against online poker rooms that typically characterize restricted states.  As a result, online poker players hailing from Mississippi have the full suite of choice available when it comes to selecting a site for real money poker.

Mississippi Gambling & Poker Laws Summarized

State Code Section(s)75.76; 97.33
DefinitionsGambling game: Any banking or percentage game played with cards, with dice or with any mechanical, electromechanical or electronic device or machine for money, property, checks, credit or any representative of value, including poker and any other game or device approved by the commission.

Mississippi Gaming Commission note: Internet gambling is illegal under state law. Online sites may advertise they are ‘legal’ and ‘licensed’ forms of gaming. They may be legal or licensed where the bets are received, but it is illegal to place bets from Mississippi with these businesses.

Online Poker/GamblingBills to legalize online poker were introduced to the legislature beginning in 2012 and ongoing for several years, but there was never enough support to bring any of them to the floor for votes, despite the support of the Mississippi Gaming Commission. There have been no efforts in recent years, however.
Live PokerMost of the casinos offer table games, including poker. Cash games and tournaments offer many options for poker players.
CasinosThere are a handful of Native American casinos, but combined with commercial riverboat casinos, there are more than 30 in all in Mississippi.
Sports BettingLawmakers legalized sports betting in 2017 in the hopes that the US Supreme Court would overturn PASPA, which happened in May 2018.
DFSA law permitting and regulating daily fantasy sports passed in 2017.
Other Forms of GamblingLottery, charitable bingo and raffles.

Is Online Poker Legal in Mississippi?

Online poker in MS occupies a vague area of the law, and if you’re seeking absolute answers on these questions you must consult with a legal professional.  Mississippi law does not make direct mention of playing online poker, meaning that some interpretation is required to reach a conclusion regarding the legality of playing online for real money.
If you’re just seeking a basic understanding of Mississippi online poker law (and gambling law in general), then we suggest starting with our quick list of facts about state gambling law:

The law in Mississippi makes it a crime to “play at any game” for “money or other valuable thing” (Section 97-33-1) unless that game is specifically legal per state statute.

Participation in a game that is not legal is, by definition, an illegal act in Mississippi.

The definition of “game” in Mississippi law includes an apparent contradiction (Section 75-76-5).  The first part of the definition requires that a game be a “banking or percentage game” but then the list of examples includes poker, which does not have to be a banking or percentage game.

It’s a crime to keep or exhibit game or gaming tables (Section 97-33-9).

Mississippi law allows for an interesting additional penalty for those engaged in illegal gambling.  According to Section 97-33-5, the amount of money you win while engaged in such illegal acts can be added onto your punishment in the form of a separate fine.

For more information about the law regarding online poker and gambling in Mississippi, refer to the complete state code below.  Continue on to learn more about the history of poker in Mississippi and to find additional resources for your research.

Will Mississippi Pass a Law to Regulate Online Poker?

It’s certainly a possibility.  While it is tempting for some to think of Mississippi as a socially conservative state, that attitude has not dampened gambling expansion in Mississippi.  A hasty plan to regulate online poker was scuttled in 2012, but we fully expect more robust plans (with stronger political and industry backing) to emerge as regulation of online poker continues to gain national momentum.

Mississippi Gambling Facts

Few states have a history of gambling as deep and as well-documented as Mississippi.  For many, the name alone conjures up images of riverboat gambling and high-stakes poker.  While the earliest roots of gambling in the region are now lost to history, it’s well-known that Mississippi was a major hub for bettors in the 1800s, when places from humble shacks to decadent resorts offered casino-style games.

The state continued to serve the needs of those looking to place a wager throughout the 1900s, although cultural and legal attitudes toward gambling did shift back and forth during the century.  It was in the 1990s that fully-regulated gambling came back to Mississippi, and expansion of that industry has continued ever since.

State-Regulated Gambling Options in Mississippi

For all of the gambling one can do in Mississippi, the most common form of state-regulated gambling – the lottery – is not available in Mississippi.  Also missing are the racetracks you’ll find in a number of US states.  Otherwise, it’s full steam ahead for gamblers, who can choose from charitable gambling and well over a dozen commercial casinos and tribal gambling facilities.

Does Mississippi Regulate Any Online Gambling?

Not at the current time.  There has been some limited discussion of bringing state-regulated online poker to Mississippi, but those conversations have apparently gone stale.  As it stands now, Mississippi does not directly regulate or license any forms of online poker or online gambling.

All Poker and Gambling Laws by State

Mississippi in the News

Read More About Mississippi, Poker and Gambling

Biloxi Historical Society .  Walk through over a hundred years of Mississippi gambling history in just a few minutes, and follow links to additional resources at this guide to “casinos, gambling, liquor and vice” in Biloxi.

Mississippi Gaming Commission.  Central resource for information regarding regulated casino gaming in Mississippi.  Review meetings, applications, reports from casinos, infractions and access self-exclusion material at the MCG website.

Mississippi Department of Revenue: Gambling Winnings .  The official word on how to handle gambling winnings when filing your state tax return in Mississippi.

Mississippi’s Place in Poker History

Despite the deep connection between Mississippi and poker, few names from the state have appeared on poker’s biggest stages.  Regardless, the influence of Mississippi on the game of poker is obvious.  Whether it’s the Mississippi straddle (a special straddle that gives first option to the button) or Mississippi Stud (a 7 card stud variant with unique betting), the state has become, quite literally, a part of poker.

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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