Illegal Gambling Costing Mississippi Millions
Gambling proponents are often trying to encourage the various governments to legalize gambling based on economic factors. If this was a true factor, then the state of Mississippi has something to think about. “Illegal casino video gambling machines have spread to almost every section of the state of Mississippi, costing $35.9 million annually in lost tax revenue,” says Gaming Commission Executive Director Larry Gregory. This estimate is based on the assumption, which some consider conservative, of an average of 100 video gambling machines in every of Mississippi’s 82 counties.
In the state of Louisiana, where the video casino games are legal, video poker bring in nearly $380 million in net revenue a year – more than $30,000 per machine – mostly in truck stops and bars. The problem is that video poker is illegal in Mississippi, outside of casinos, and the ‘average’ gambling fan may not always have time to go to a casino, but would rather make a quick stop at a video gambling machine. There are many illegal options for this sort of gambling and the law enforcement agents admit that enforcing the ban is not high on their list of priorities.
Because operating a gambling parlor is only misdemeanor offense, confiscating the machines and arresting the owners is a low priority. In an average year, the Gaming Commission destroys about a thousand of the gambling machines, but they admit that there are many more out there that they simply do not have the resources or time to locate.