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Internet Poker Bills Dead Again in Mississippi and Washington

Internet Poker Bills Dead Again in Mississippi and Washington

Two states jumped off the iGaming bandwagon last month.

When Mississippi state Rep. Bobby Moak introduced the Mississippi Lawful Internet Act of 2015 in January, he knew it would not succeed in an election year. His colleagues recently proved him right—for the third time—by not advancing the bill past the committee level. The bill would have licensed and regulated internet gambling.

“My Republican colleagues have not been moving very much at all concerning gaming,” Moak said. “They haven’t looked at doing any of the incentives that some other businesses get, and we’ve got to create some opportunities to help the bottom lines for gaming houses.” He noted two Mississippi casinos closed last year due to competition in neighboring states.

Moak said the disappointing results from regulated online gaming in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware should not impact internet gambling in Mississippi. “We all know the numbers weren’t as huge as some people thought they would be, but my position on internet gaming is just to give the industry options it needs in this changing market. It’s another tool they should have,” he said.

In Washington state, a grass-roots organization seeking to pass legislation to legalize online poker has acknowledged that the bill has died in committee and the issue is likely dead in the state for 2015.

A bill to allow online poker in the state was introduced in January by state Rep. Sherry Appleton, a Democrat, but it never received a hearing.

“The bill did not get the support that I had originally hoped for, and consequently we will not be moving forward with it this session,” Appleton said in a press statement.

Appleton had introduced the bill in support of the grass-roots campaign known as the Washington Internet Poker Initiative. But the effort always seemed a long shot in the state, one of the few in the country to adopt a law specifically making playing online poker

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