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Mississippi lawmakers OKs fantasy sports bill

The fate of daily fantasy sports (DFS) in Mississippi now lies in the hands of State Gov. Phil Bryant. 

Voting 46-6, the Mississippi legislature has approved a measure which will pave the way for the proper regulation of DFS in the state.

Daily Journal reported that the bill now awaits for the signature of Bryant.

Under House Bill 967, empowers the Mississippi Gaming Commission to regulate fantasy sports contests online or in casino – including the conduct of a background check and annual audit on DFS operators and the issuance of state license.

The bill also imposes an eight percent tax DFS operators and outlines consumer protections such as:  Ban on employee play at operators; establishes a minimum age of 18 for users; creates provisions relating to security of contest data and segregation of player funds from operational funds.

Analysts predict Bryant to sign the Fantasy Sports Bill, especially now that the state is struggling for ways to fund state government in the midst of sluggish revenue collections. If Bryant signs the legislation into law, it will mean a new source of revenue for the state.

Though he doesn’t expect fantasy sports to generate a lot of revenue for the state, House Gaming Chair Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach believes that it will help ease the state revenue conundrum by a bit.

“I think it will grow,” Bennett said about the industry.

He admitted that it is difficult to estimate how much the tax will generate because there is little information to glean from other states.

The state is hoping to cash in $5 million annually worth of tax collected from the DFS, although most say that might be an overly optimistic estimate. But even $5 million, while welcome, would be a modest amount in a budget of more than $6 billion.

“They are just now doing what we are doing,” he said.

Mississippi is considered to be one of the many battleground for DFS. The legislation was deemed important after Attorney General Jim Hood determined fantasy sport as a game of chance.

Calvin Ayre

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