Gambling Laws In Mississippi
From classic stories of the riverboat to the romantic image of the “high roller,” it’s no secret that the United States has a serious and mystifying love affair with gambling. Of course, no one needs to tell residents of Mississippi that. Ever since Mississippi gambling laws allowed Biloxi to turn their little town on the Gulf Coast into the Las Vegas of the south, Mississippi has seen tourists flock across their state lines in droves for hopes of scoring a little extra cash on their vacation.
Although most residents near Biloxi are well aware that they may visit the little beach town whenever they like to gamble legally, a lot are unaware as to what their rights are when they are not in Biloxi. Many who wish to participate in gambling do not do so because they fear legal repercussions, or have otherwise come across false information in relation to their legal rights and the restrictions in their home state when it comes to gambling. This page was written with the express intention of not only helping to clear up some of the legal landscape for average residents of the state, but to help guide them towards the safest and most legal means of gambling available.
Having gambling centers like Biloxi and Tunica in one’s home state can be both a blessing and a disguise. While it’s great to have one of the busiest gambling cities in the world nearby, a lot of state policy was written with the intent of protecting these businesses. Federal law states that while there are no laws against placing bets or wagers on future events or games of chance, the facilitation of illicit gambling is a serious crime. Mississippi takes this cue and runs with it, all for the purpose of protecting state sanctioned facilities in Biloxi.
The Legality of Gambling in Mississippi - Is It Legal?
The first thing that bears mention when it comes to Mississippi gambling laws is that gambling in the state is perfectly legal. Mississippi has a great deal of licensed facilities and riverboats in the state where all manner of table games and slot machines are perfectly legal. Whenever the state of Mississippi cracks down it should be assumed that they are cracking down on gambling that goes on outside these sanctioned facilities.
Outside these great exceptions to the law, Mississippi does define the act of “betting, gaming or wagering” in section 97-33-1 of state legislation as when one shall “encourage, promote or play at any game, play or amusement… or shall wager or bet, promote or encourage the wagering or betting of any money or other valuable things, upon any game, play, amusement…” this broad sweep of legal-ese effectively bans any betting on future events or games of chance in the state of Mississippi outside of state sanctioned facilities.
Violation of this act can result in a fine of up to $500 and 90 days in jail. However, there is good news for those who want to gamble without making the long drive to Biloxi. The only time this law is enforced is when law enforcement agencies are explicitly breaking up illicit gambling operations that take place within the state. In these cases, it’s incredibly likely that all participants in the illegal affair will be brought in. When enforcing this law, it is not as though Mississippi believes they are truly removing a criminal element from their streets, rather they are protecting their valuable legal gambling industry.
As a result, even if a Mississippi resident does not want to travel to a crowded casino to only spend an hour or so gambling, they may utilize legal gambling websites aimed at Mississippi residents. These websites operate incredibly discretely, and have never attracted the attention of any law enforcement in Mississippi.
These are really the only safe means of gambling in the Magnolia State. Whereas most states will include legislation that protects private home games played among friends, Mississippi does not even go that far. While it is highly unlikely that a discrete, private, and social game played among friends will be prosecuted, there is no legislation in the state that protects any forms of gambling outside of established, legal businesses.
“Keeping Gaming Tables”
Another facet in which Mississippi is unique is in their attitude towards those who facilitate illicit gambling for profit, or, in the phrasing that Mississippi uses, those who “keep gaming tables.” Whereas most states not only punish this crime more severely but are much more active in punishing it, in Mississippi, the legal penalty is identical to those who are convicted of merely participating in gambling.
If there is a message to take away from this it is not that facilitating illicit gambling operations in Mississippi is safer than it is anywhere else – it’s that Mississippi is so good at sniffing out and busting up illegal gambling games that scare tactics written into the law are not necessary. Indeed, Mississippi seems to show a rare gift for seeking out land based operations that “keep gaming tables” and then bust in and seize all funds associated with the game with extreme prejudice.
It’s all well and good to threaten offenders with extreme jail sentences and felony charges, but the thought in the lawmaking and enforcement branches is that if all the money from these operations is seized, it’s probably going to do enough damage to the operation to keep it from ever resurfacing. Mississippi is serious about protecting the revenue from their state-regulated casinos, and they will go to great lengths in law enforcement to do so.
Again, this cannot be stressed enough, if a resident in Mississippi wishes to gamble without visiting a casino, the use of legal online gambling networks is really the only viable option that will keep players safe from legal interference.
Gambling Laws In Mississippi
Sports wagering is the only form of gambling specifically regulated by the federal government in all but four states. In 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was passed, which made it illegal for any states to sanction sports betting within their own borders. Although four states were exempt from this law, Mississippi was not one of them. This means that even in Biloxi, the gambling capitol of the south, no brick and mortar gambling facilities may offer the use of sportsbooks for the purpose of betting in sports.
It’s for this reason that most of those kin the Magnolia State who have an interest in regular sports betting turn to legal online sportsbooks that accept Mississippi players and do not run a risk of shut down or seizure from any government agencies by virtue of being located overseas. Through the use of these sites, residents are free to throw a couple dollars on the egg bowl, or who they believe will win the national championship.
It’s been well established that the city of Biloxi offers several casinos, all of which feature legal slot machines, table games, and any other variation on traditional casino games that one can think of, but Mississippi is a big state. What happens if someone lives too far from Biloxi to make the drive worthwhile? Luckily, there are still several sanctioned casinos spread throughout Mississippi. Any of the three southernmost counties in the state may carry legal gambling, and since a river runs through the state, many business owners have made a killing via riverboat gambling.
Outside of these venues, with the high likelihood of illicit casinos being busted by law enforcement, the only recommended path one can really take is to join the millions of US citizens who gamble with legal online casinos every day. These legitimate businesses offer all the perks of land based casinos, with none of the crowds, and the convenience of playing right in your own living room, free from fear of legal prosecution for violations of Mississippi gambling laws.
Poker is by far the most popular means of gambling throughout the country, with several popular songs, feature films and novels devoted to the subject. As such, many states authorize poker even if they do not sanction any other forms of gambling. Fortunately, in Mississippi this is not a problem. With the high volume of casinos on the gulf coast and riverboat casinos throughout the state, residents should have no problem finding legal venues to play poker on land.
Although Mississippi law technically does not sanction home games, it is worth mentioning that private games amongst friends, so long as they remain discrete and low stakes, should not attract any legal attention, nor will gambling with legal online poker rooms.
Legal Age To Gamble In Mississippi
Even though Mississippi is one of the friendliest states in the union towards gambling, this does not make gambling underage a good idea. The legal age to gamble in the Magnolia State is 21, and it is strongly advised that all residents wait until they are at least that old to take part in any gambling, lest they further complicate was is already a legally complex situation.
Players who attempt to gamble under the legal age are sure to face penalties from whichever facility catches them, be it online or on land. In addition to serving out lengthy ban from the establishment, all money associated with the underage player will be seized. In addition, they will be reported to the State who will likely fine and possibly even jail the offender. There are things in life worth waiting for, and one of them is legal gambling.
Where Can I Legally Gamble in Mississippi?
On-Land: Luckily, Mississippi is home to the Vegas of the south; as such, there is no limit to legal venues for gambling available to Mississippi residents. Be it along the famed Mississippi gulf coast where casinos line Interstate-10 like weeds or along the river where many cruise ships and boats offer legal gambling on the boat, there are options on top of options all throughout the state. Mississippi gambling laws say in any of these casinos, residents may play slots, and variety of casino games, or take advantage of the South’s most premiere poker rooms. Unfortunately, federal laws being what they are, no facility in Mississippi is able to offer sports betting.
Online/Web-Based: If a resident wants all the pleasures of gambling with none of the hassles of visiting a casino (like long distance driving or serious crowds) than they may turn to a number of legal online gambling networks for Mississippi residents. The question surely plaguing some readers at this point is how these websites can possibly be legal when considering the harsh laws and strict enforcement aimed against taking down illicit operations within the state. The answer is simple: since these websites have been established and are maintained overseas, they are free from prosecution from both Mississippi and federal law enforcement agencies. This means that these websites may operate free from any chance of being shut down or having their assets seized. This is great news for those who like to gamble online!
While the prospect of gambling with a foreign company can make some nervous, there are actually several benefits to gambling with a legally established and maintained website, even if it’s not based in the states. In order to maintain their legal status, these sites must maintain licenses from gaming commissions. This assures fair play for all of their members as well as over the table dealings when it comes to cutting their members checks. Your money is as safe in the sites we recommend as it would be with Amazon, Target, or any online retail giant.
Top Legal Gambling Site For Mississippi Residents
Bovada - All-Inclusive Gambling Site With Sports Betting
When you’re looking for an edge in the online gambling market, we’ll be the first to tell you that not all legal gambling websites are created equal. This is not news to members of Bovada. Any trepidation one may feel about gambling with Canadians should be washed away when they get a good look at the website. On the front page you can tell it’s expertly designed, and the insignias of reputable companies like CBS and the USA Today don’t hurt, either. If legal online gambling is an art form, than the folks at Bovada are Michelangelo.
Bovada’s best quality is its adaptability. Never one to be left in the dust, they were one of the first Mississippi gambling sites to embrace mobile web site development, and the current state of their mobile site shows a company comfortable sitting on the edge of innovation. With this app, you can take your sportsbook or poker room anywhere you go, making layovers in the airport or long waits in the doctor’s office blow by in a flash!
More Recommended Betting Sites For Mississippi Players
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While we are confident in the information presented on this page, it must be noted that no one here at MississippiGamblingLaws.com is licensed or qualified to practice law in Mississippi, and that therefore, the information presented within this website should not be considered a legal consultation. Any further questions should be directed to Mississippi certified lawyer, or to the state legislature's website at www.legislature.ms.gov where the exact language for Mississippi gambling laws can be found in its entirety - reading the law for yourself is often the best way to determine whether or not the state is on-board with the activity.