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Gambling in Mississippi has a very long and rich history, going back to even before colonial times, where the Indians in the state were known to gamble quite a bit, particularly on a game of stick ball, where bets would be placed on which team would win.
The Europeans brought their decks of cards with them and card based gambling then became popular, as did gambling on other games such as checkers and billiards. If you could bet on it, Mississippians liked to bet on it.
Their first race track taking bets was built all the way back in the 1790’s. In the 1800’s, Mississippi became a popular tourist destination, and gambling became a central part of that. Steamboat gambling on the Mississippi River also became popular.
Gambling continues to play a large role in the state’s culture, particularly on the Gulf Coast, which has a long history of casino gambling dating back almost 200 years.
Poker And The Law In Mississippi
Mississippi state code makes unauthorized gambling illegal and punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars. (2) They do have legal gambling in this state so betting at licensed establishments would of course be immune from this law.
Oddly enough, betting on dog fights is excluded from this law, but betting or wagering on anything else for anything of value is prohibited, unless the wagering takes place on a “vessel“ over water. What constitutes a vessel has been interpreted pretty broadly and this has resulted in full sized casinos being built over water to take advantage of this twist in the law.
So it’s quite clear that apart from authorized and licensed poker, any other poker playing for money would be prohibited under Mississippi law. It does not mention internet poker specifically, but even though the game may not be hosted in the state, the actual playing of the game would be if players are located there, and it’s playing the game that is mentioned specifically in the law.
In some states, where betting may be illegal, it may be argued that the bets are actually placed outside the state, on a server in another country, but the law in Mississippi is more comprehensive than that, as they address not only placing bets but playing in a game for money or other items of value, so the mere playing would qualify it as a crime.
However, for practical purposes, this isn’t a law that is enforced as far as internet poker goes and no online poker room has any qualms about allowing residents of Mississippi play at their poker sites.
Live Poker In Mississippi
Live poker can be found at a number of Mississippi casinos. There are 30 commercial casinos in Mississippi, with a total of 16 different ones offering poker rooms (3).
The list includes the Ameristar Casino Vicksburg in Vicksburg, the Golden Nugget Biloxi in Biloxi, the Hollywood Casino Bay Saint Louis in Bay St. Louis, the Horseshoe Casino Tunica in Robinsonville, the Magnolia Bluffs Casino in Natchez, the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, the Hard Rock Biloxi in Biloxi, the Hollywood Casino Tunica in Robinsonville, the IP Casino Biloxi in Biloxi, the Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia, the Silver Slipper Casino in Bay St. Louis, the Isle Casino Hotel Biloxi in Biloxi, the Boomtown Biloxi in Biloxi, Harlow’s Casino in Greenville, Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino in Tunica, and the Gold Strike Tunica in Tunica.
These poker rooms are generally on the smaller side, with up to 16 tables, with all offering cash games and most offering poker tournaments. With most of the poker rooms being in such close proximity to one another, players will have no problem finding all kinds of poker action.
Mississippi’s Attempts At An Online Poker Bill
There have been several attempts to introduce an online poker bill in Mississippi, but none have been successful so far. While there were a few state politicians in favor of looking seriously at this, the support so far hasn’t been widespread enough to even get a good discussion going.
However, the idea is getting a little better reception lately, as the state gaming committee has just put together a task force to study the matter to determine whether Mississippi should finally proceed in looking at an online gambling bill (4).
In spite of a very vibrant land-based casino business, or rather a water-based one next to land, generating over $2 billion a year in revenues, revenue has fallen off over the past few years and with the closing of a major casino lately, the online business is starting to look more tempting. We are still a ways off from ever seeing this come to pass though, but it is a definite possibility in the next few years.
Where To Play Online Poker in Mississippi
Mississippians are most welcome at any of the current online poker rooms serving Americans, and here’s our top recommendations for you as far as the best places to play if you live in Mississippi:
#1 – Ignition Poker (review): This site has been one of the very best online poker rooms out there for U.S. players for quite some time now. Despite just launching in 2016, they actually bought up the Bovada Poker software that had been in operation for well over a decade. They now offer a new and improved cashier which offers much quicker withdrawals than in the past.
#2 – America’s Cardroom (review): Another top poker room which takes players from Mississippi. They also want you to try them out and are ready to bribe you with up to $1,000 in bonus money to get your attention. Check the review above and get more information on our #2 rated USA poker site.