The eight member committee is an extremely diverse group who should provide lawmakers with an unbiased report on online gambling. The task force’s findings will not include policy recommendations, focusing only on the current state of online gambling and sports betting in the US.
The Mississippi Task Force
Socially conservative Mississippi is seen as more of a long shot to expand into online gambling, but a closer look at the state’s economy makes online gambling expansion a fairly plausible proposition, considering Mississippi has a strong brick & mortar casino industry that accounted for $263 million in tax revenue in 2013 and employs over 23,000 people in the state.
While Mississippi’s casino industry accounts for about 5% of the state budget, total revenue dropped by about 6% in 2013, a number online gambling expansion could potentially recoup.
State Representative Richard Bennett (R-Long Beach), the Chairman of the House Gaming Committee commissioned the study to investigate Internet gambling as well as sports-betting according to a Washington Post article.
The study will focus on the three states that have passed online gambling legislation, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey.
In addition to the fiscal ramifications the study will also examine ” whether the software for online gambling sites works as well as it claims to,” according to the WaPo article.
Allen Godfrey, the Chairman of the Mississippi Gaming Commission will head up the task force that will meet for the first time at the Southern Gaming Conference taking place in Biloxi this May.
The task force is comprised of Godfrey and seven other individuals, most notably Larry Gregory, the current Director of the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association and the Former Director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, as well as Dorothy Loggins of the Mississippi Council on Problem & Compulsive Gambling.
Pennsylvania Study Due May 1
Pennsylvania’s legislature will have the results from an online gambling study they commissioned in December of 2013, as the May 1 deadline is fast approaching. The report comes during the first period of decline in land-based casino revenue in Pennsylvania since the state expanded its offering to table games in 2010.
Interestingly, the decline began the same month New Jersey launched their online gambling, which has led to some speculation over the impact New Jersey’s online gambling industry is having on Pennsylvania casinos.
Pennsylvania is considered to be one of the most likely states to expand into online gambling, as it is becoming surrounded by states that have legalized online gambling (Delaware and New Jersey), as well as a couple of states (New York and Maryland) that have expressed an interest in doing so.
The results of the study are expected to be key factor in determining Pennsylvania’s online gambling future.
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