DFS Moves Forward in Mississippi while Lottery Fails

by Kyle Miller

MississippiLegislation in regards to the lottery have failed to move forward in Mississippi while daily fantasy sports tax bill approved.

Gambling is currently being considered in a variety of ways across the United States including in the state of Mississippi. Two gambling bills were under consideration in the House yesterday in Mississippi, with one being able to move forward and one not passing muster. The lawmakers of the state had to decide on a lottery bill as well as one involving daily fantasy sports, with DFS earning the approval.

DFS Moves Forward; Lottery Gaming a Bust

House Bill 967 was able to pass within Congress once a second vote took place on Thursday. With the passage, daily fantasy sports can be regulated properly in Mississippi if the bill is able to come into law. The Senate will now look at the measure and vote on the matter.

House Bill 967 would create a daily fantasy sports tax of 8% that operators who offer the activity in the state will have to pay. The Mississippi Gaming Commission would be in charge of fantasy sports contests regulation online as well as whatever contests might take place at local gaming venues.

The bill was created based on a recommendation provided by a study group that was set up to consider the daily fantasy sports industry. The group was created last year. House Bill 967 also gives the regulator the ability to complete a background check on operators of daily fantasy sports with licensing required along with an annual audit.

The measure will give regulators the ability to monitor DFS operators for underage gambling as well as setting an age for contests at 21 or older. The bill was up for a vote on Wednesday and failed to move forward but was voted on again on Thursday and passed muster.

Lottery a No-Go

While the daily fantasy sports bill passed through the House the State Lottery Bill was not able to do so. It was reported that the House voted no on all three bills that would create a state lottery in Mississippi. It was expected that the bills would pass on Wednesday, at least one of them, but that was not the case after the hearing took place.

House Speaker Philip Gunn spoke during the hearing and stated that a lottery amendment did not have the ability to be added to a measure that increased prize money in regards to charity bingo. However, lottery could still take place in Mississippi eventually. The Senate will be looking at the bills as well and may consider adding the lottery to a budget proposal. This could be done as the Senate has a later deadline in place for filing bills as well as passage.

It was reported that Senator Philip Moran drafted a bill and last week senators found copies of the bill. The measure would include the lottery and could be the chance that the state needs to become involved in the lottery industry.

A state lottery continues to see growing support so if not this year, it would not be impossible to see the state offer lottery gaming legislation in 2018. Proponents of lottery gaming feel that if a lottery were to be offered in the state, the coffers of Mississippi would be boosted. The state is currently lacking when it comes to revenues and reserves so additional money is always needed. We shall see in the coming weeks if any legislation is moved forward and if the lottery is a possibility.