Mississippi Legal Poker Sites

Mississippi StateBefore the civil war put stop to the golden years of riverboat casinos, Mississippi was a hub for poker and other gambling games. The rich history of these boats, and colorful characters who frequented them bring back to life what must have been an amazing era. Today, poker fans here have plenty of choice, with lots of live poker action, home games which are tolerated if not explicitly legal – and some small movement towards looking at regulated online poker too.

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This page gives you a detailed account of the world of poker games in Mississippi. First of all below you will find information on live poker card-rooms at the many casinos. After that I’ve covered home games and other social poker formats. Next up, you will find a look at online poker, including the chances of possible regulation in the future. After that some details concerning poker games from the State law books can be found – along with a final summary.

Live Poker Games In Mississippi

Prior to 1990 – when a wide ranging gaming act was signed into law – Mississippi was a fairly dry State as far as gambling and poker were concerned. Once riverboat casinos were legalized (with the caveat that local consent was given) things really started to move in the right direction. Agreements known as compacts were negotiated with native tribes – who soon opened their own casinos which include poker rooms as well as slots and table games.

Nowadays there are 17 casino poker rooms to choose from throughout the State. The major cities of Philadelphia, Biloxi, Vicksburg and Robinsonville are all covered. There are some big names among the State licensed casinos, including the Hard Rock, Harrah’s and Golden Nugget.

Many of the biggest tournament events have stops in Mississippi, including the World Poker Tour and Southern Poker Challenge. This is in addition to plenty of cash game action and packed local tournament schedules.

Are Home Games Legal In Mississippi?

Unlike in many States, home games are not exempted from the broadly-based ‘it’s illegal unless specified otherwise’ legal definitions here. This means social poker games are technically illegal even if no player is raking the pots or making a profit by charging entry fees. Looking through the press history in Mississippi shows that small stakes home games are not usually the target of busts or enforcement actions – though you need to be aware that these are at your own risk.

There are charity gambling laws in Mississippi – mostly involving bingo and raffles. Poker nights or poker tournaments may be possible here as long as they are individually licensed by the gaming control board.

Online Poker Games In Mississippi

At present, internet poker is considered illegal under the pre-internet statutes which ban all forms of gambling which are not explicitly stated in the books as approved.

There is some hopeful movement in MS already. A bill was put forward to regulate online poker back in 2012. This did not make it to a vote, failing to get out of committee. The Mississippi government is now looking at regulation of online gambling (and poker in particular). Depending on the outcome of this report, there are hopes that a bill could be introduced later in 2014 or in 2015.

What Do The Mississippi Gambling Statutes Say?

Mississippi laws are quite complex, with lots of clauses and sub-clauses relating to the main definitions. This State take the wagering or making of a bet the crime, and are very harsh on the organizers of illegal gambling games. The broad inclusion of ‘game, play, amusement’ in the books does not distinguish whether skill or chance factors make a difference. It would be difficult to argue the skill-game ‘out’ for poker based on this definition.

Here are the key words, from Section 97-33-1:

“…shall wager or bet, promote or encourage the wagering or betting of any money or other valuable things, upon any game, play, amusement… “

One interesting quirk in the MS laws is that fines for participating in an illegal gambling game are proportional to what you won. This means that if you did get busted, your bad-beat a couple of hands before which cost you a big pot could turn out to be a real blessing in disguise!

Mississippi Poker – Summing It Up

Residents of this State have a great selection of poker rooms to choose from at some of the biggest and best casino names anywhere in the country – as well as excellent facilities on native lands. You’ll find varied cash game action and big tournament tours coming to town too. This action makes up for the lack of home-games, which unlike in other States are not carved out under the law.

Online poker is looking like a strong possibility in Mississippi. There has already been one attempt to get a bill to the floor, which indicates people inside the government who are sympathetic to this cause. The current investigation and report could well lead to a bill later in the year or early next year. In the meantime residents of this State can enjoy several offshore poker sites.