SportsHandle.com is your place for everything to know about legal Mississippi sports betting. On Aug. 1, 2018, the Beau Rivage Casino and Resort and Gold Strike Casino Resort took the state’s first sports bets and by the end of the month, 20 of the state’s commercial casinos were offering sports betting.
In addition, tribal casinos owned by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians have opened sportsbooks. The Golden Moon Hotel and Casino and the Bok Homa Casino, both under the Pearl River Resort umbrella, now have sports betting lounges. Tribal casinos do not fall under the blanket of the state’s gaming board.
Below is a primer on the Mississippi sports betting scene.
Mississippi Sports Betting Overview
In June 2018, the Mississippi Gaming Commission’s website rolled out their regulations, covering everything from definitions of sports betting terms to how to pay out wagers. The 22-page document makes no allowance for an “integrity fee” or royalty to be paid out the professional sports leagues. By the end of the summer, 20 commercial and two tribal sportsbooks had opened for sports betting.
“The tax rate on [on sports betting revenues] will be 12 percent — 8 percent going to the state, 4 percent local tax, which is the same as every other gaming tax in Mississippi,” Allen Godfrey, Executive Director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, told Sports Handle.
For the time being, sports betting is allowed only on premises at the casinos, some of which may offer apps, which will only be accessible on premises as well. For example the tribal casinos, Bok Homa, Golden Moon, and Silver Star, all a part of the Pearl River Resort, allow mobile wagers while on site via the PRRSports app.
Most sportsbooks offer wagering on a full menu of professional and collegiate athletic events, including Ole Miss and Mississippi State games. This is notable because some state regulations will not currently allow wagering on collegiate events in-state.
Mississippi Sports Betting Locations
Land Based Casinos Open for Sports Betting
Revenue on the rise
Sports betting in Mississippi has outperformed expectations. Prior to legalization a Global Market Advisors study anticipated that the state’s in-person betting handle would be around $180 million per year. It didn’t take long to raise the bar. As sports betting operations were still getting set up in 2018, Mississippi managed to take in in more than $150 million in wagers from September – December alone. During its first full year of operation (August ’18 – August ’19) Mississippi sportsbook handle topped $300 million. During the calendar year for 2019 that number rose to $370 million, and with the 8% tax rate, netted the state more than $5 million.
While mobile wagering would take things to a new level, in the short term retail sportsbooks have drawn more visitors to casinos, restaurants, and hotels – a positive for Mississippi.
Mobile betting on the way?
While retail sportsbooks in Mississippi have been a success story, the state has yet to fully embrace online betting. In a time when online-friendly states like New Jersey are accepting more than 80% of its bets online, there’s enormous potential for growth in the Magnolia State and efforts are underway to make it happen.
Mobile betting would check a lot of boxes for Mississippi. Not only would it greatly increase the number of people that have easy access to sportsbooks, but it would do wonders for the variety of available bets. Online bookmakers can offer live, in-game wagers far faster than retail books. No matter how you want to bet an event, online sportsbooks typically have a way to do it.
In January 2020 Democrat Cedric Burnett filed HB 172, which would permit each of Mississippi’s casinos to offer an online/mobile sports betting product that could be used anywhere in the state. The only notable difference between live betting and online would be a slightly smaller 6% tax rate – a low, operator friendly rate by industry standards.
While there is support, it’s still unclear whether anything will get off the ground in 2020. Mississippi legislators will have until March 3rd to move forward with a bill.