The Mississippi Gaming Commission is looking for a new executive director to replace Larry Gregory. It’s not exactly the most attractive position to fill as whoever succeeds Gregory will be responsible for overseeing a time of increased competition from online gambling and new markets that attract out-of-state tourists.
Newstimes reports at a John C. Stennis Institute of Government luncheon in downtown Jackson, Gregory was weary of outside competition. “Every state has gaming now,” he said.
He’s right. The competition for gambling dollars continues to intensify in the United States. Struggling economies have forced many states that were previously adverse to gambling expansion to draft legislation. Pennsylvania allowed gambling a few years ago and has now surpassed Mississippi in market share and is tracking down Atlantic City. In the mid-west, Ohio will begin to allow gambling this year, and South Florida is also considering the move to snatch up some market share. Even Illinois is close to getting gambling expansion.
Former executive director Larry Gregory doesn’t think online gambling is in the state’s near future. Gregory said in the Newstimes that Mississippi’s “conservative approach” to gambling, characterized by avoiding racier-themed slot machines and restricting locations to within 800 feet of waterfronts, shows the state is unlikely to sanction online gambling within its borders.
Certainly D.C. doesn’t mind. Washington D.C. lawmakers plan to use revenue gleaned from online gambling which is estimated between $13 million and $14 million through fiscal year 2014 to offset budget cuts and fund social services.
It’s quickly becoming a situation where the states that are able to expand gambling properly and forge a future path towards online gambling will be the states that are most successful in rebuilding their economies and finding additional funding for social services.