April 7, 2014 10:12:11 AM
BILOXI -- Mississippi's chief gambling regulator is heading up a group that will gather data on how Internet gambling and sports betting are working other states.
Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, is chairman of the task force.
State Rep. Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach, chairman of the House Gaming Committee, asked Godfrey to take the job and provide an unbiased look at the pros and cons of Internet gambling and sports betting.
The group's first meeting will be in May during the Southern Gaming Summit in Biloxi. It will present its findings by the end of the year.
Bennett said this in no way endorses either form of gambling. He said it will be more comprehensive than anything he's seen on the subjects and he envisions other states using the information that is collected.
The original intent was to consider just Internet gambling. The focus grew to include all forms of sports betting when "a number of legislators from the coast and other areas came to me and asked me to add that to it," Bennett told The Sun Herald.
Godfrey said the group will not be making any recommendations regarding any new legislation or regulations.
He said the task force will start with three states -- Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey -- where Internet gambling or sports betting is legal.
Among the things Godfrey said he wants to study are whether the software for online gambling sites works as well as it claims to, and how it is working to keep people from out of state off the sites -- something that is required by current laws.
Two of the more-difficult issues are problem gamblers and underage gambling, Godfrey said.
"It will be interesting to see what other states have done," he said.
1. Photos: Market Street 2015 COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. A closer look at the Lowndes Co. bond issue COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. Suspect in Wednesday shooting turns himself in COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. Photo: Highway 69 wreck COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY