The state of Mississippi has long been home to one of the most highly developed and successful hubs for gambling in the United States. You may also recall that sports betting was not offered at any of the casinos around the state for decades due to a federal ban. Fortunately, that has all changed and Mississippi sportsbooks have opened all over the state.
Now that the US Supreme Court has ruled against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), declaring the unpopular and overreaching federal ban on sports betting in all but four states to be unconstitutional, state-sanctioned legal Mississippi sportsbooks are now a reality. With all the infrastructure already in place, residents and tourists can easily find their favorite local Mississippi sportsbooks.
While Mississippians are widely regarded to be among the nation’s savviest bettors, not everyone involved in the hobby knows the whole truth about the already wide availability of sports betting opportunities in their state. For nearly a quarter of a century since the passage of PASPA in the early ‘90s, legal sportsbook websites based overseas have been providing Mississippi sports bettors with an online alternative to Las Vegas and shady local bookies alike. These 100-percent legal sports betting businesses, which are simultaneously licensed and regulated by the gaming authorities in their home nations in Europe and the Caribbean, have all the action on Mississippi’s favorite sports, teams, athletes and events, while also operating outside the prohibitions that were up until recently imposed by federal and state laws.
Our comprehensive guide to legal Mississippi sportsbooks – both of the state-sanctioned domestic variety based here at home in the Magnolia State and those doing business from home bases overseas – aims to provide veteran bettors and newcomers to the hobby with all the information you need to get started. We will take a closer look at what the decision to repeal PASPA means for the future of legalized and regulated sports betting in MS, what the state laws say about wagering on sports, what gaming outlets are primed to offer sports betting, what teams to bet on and more.
As of November 2018, there are more than 20 Mississippi casinos with sportsbooks, and Magnolia State fans are lining up around the block in Biloxi, Gulfport, and Tunica Resorts to get in on the action. The Beau Rivage, regarded as the pride of the Gulf Coast, and the Gold Strike Casino Resort up on the Tennessee border in Tunica, both began accepting sports wagers on August 1st, 2018. Since then, numerous commercial and tribal casinos have opened their doors to provide patrons with a full-scale sports betting experience. You will be able to find sportsbooks in Vicksburg, Robinsonville, Bay St. Louis, and Greenville as well. We recommend that all our readers drop what they are doing and hit the road to see what all the fuss is about. Of course, if traveling is not currently in the cards there are always plenty of online Mississippi sportsbooks to choose from.
One of the biggest topics of discussion in sports betting circles these days is how the recent Supreme Court ruling on PASPA impacts sports betting in Mississippi. The ramifications of the May 14, 2018, 6-3 majority decision by the SCOTUS justices are momentous: by overturning the longstanding federal prohibition on state-regulated sports betting, all 50 states are now free to chart their own courses when it comes to offering sports wagering or not.
Mississippi lawmakers anticipated this shift in the federal stance on sports betting and in early 2017 quietly repealed the portion of the Missing Gaming Control Act relating to Daily Fantasy Sports contests (DFS) that had previously prohibited placing wagers on sports. By opening up the possibility for the state to legalize and regulate sports betting should the federal ban be lifted, overturned or repealed, Mississippi was basically good to go as soon as PASPA was struck down by the highest court in the land.
Unlike a few of the other nearly two dozen states that either already passed or are on the cusp of passing laws to legalize sport betting, Mississippi’s revised law on the subject only allows the state’s 28 casinos to obtain licenses to operate sportsbooks. While on the surface this might seem like a bad move, considering the internet-facing direction the entire sports betting industry seems pivoting toward, it was, in actuality, a fairly elegant solution to a problem facing other states.
It should be pointed out that nothing in the law prevents state legislators from pursuing different avenues and platforms for legal Mississippi sportsbooks in the future. However, by focusing strictly on allowing established casinos to offer sports betting products at the onset of the newly minted industry, the Magnolia State avoided potential infighting between casinos, lottery operators and other interested parties. Time will tell the direction that Mississippi will eventually take when it comes to offering a full menu of digital sports betting products and platforms, but in heady days like we are seeing in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling on PASPA, it is hard not to be optimistic about the future.
Being that the future for Mississippi sportsbooks is looking brighter than ever, by now the savviest sports betting enthusiasts are beginning to wonder one question: “What does the new state law look like?” There are a few particulars of the new state law that are worth going over for the benefit of sports bettors looking to have a stronger grasp on the legality of Mississippi sports betting.
For now, all sports betting taking place in Mississippi will have to go on at one of the state’s casinos, as the new state law does not allow for mobile betting outside a licensed casino sportsbook or for online sports betting period. The law similarly does not authorize bars and restaurants to have electronic sports betting terminals. Casinos interested in obtaining licensure have to apply to the Mississippi Gaming Commission – which will be responsible for all sports betting-related licensure for casinos and third party vendors operating sportsbooks – and then get approval to host bookmaking spaces inside their facilities.
The goal of this detail of the law was to ensure that only existing gaming license holders can offer sports betting from the outset, and that means land- and water-based operations only, at least for the time being.
As for the types of wagers that will be accepted, all forms of professional and collegiate sports are fair game when it comes to the action that will be on offer at Mississippi sportsbooks.
On the subject of what taxes will be assessed by the state on its new sports betting operations, Mississippi’s gaming authority eventually settled on the proposal included in regulatory bill, HB 1154 (sponsored by Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven), which means sportsbooks operating in the Magnolia State will be liable for a 12 percent tax on handle. That means the casinos that house the Mississippi sportsbooks will pay the equivalent to that amount in state and local taxes on the total wagers – minus payouts – that they bring in.
For a more detailed explanation, head over to our on the Mississippi sports betting law.
While there are plenty of restrictions on mobile sports betting baked into the Hospitality State’s current laws dealing with sports gambling, there is actually no need to worry if you are dead set on using your smartphone to wager on your favorite team. That’s because it is not illegal to bet at on offshore sportsbook on your mobile device, and – wouldn’t you know it – the industry’s leading overseas operators like Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, BetDSI and 5Dimes all have free mobile betting apps for Apple and Android devices. Because these sites are based in foreign countries (where the laws governing Mississippi sportsbooks do not apply in the first place), and because state laws don’t prohibit actually placing bets online generally, you can use offshore sportsbook websites for your mobile betting needs with no need to worry about running afoul of the law.
One of the major elements to Mississippi’s new sports betting legislation is the provision for mobile sports betting, though at this time it looks like placing bets on sporting events using a smartphone will be severely restricted. There are several reasons for this, one of which we have already discussed at some length above (to sum things up, Mississippi’s lawmakers evidently decided in part that it was an easier sell to focus their sports betting legalization legislation on casino operators only). The current Mississippi sports betting regulatory measures even go as far as to not include garages and parking lots in what constitutes the “property boundaries” of the casino hotel facility – presumably for fear that someone might hack the system and camp out in a parking area or something.
In many ways it could be said, the main reason the outlook for mobile sports betting in Mississippi is not the best right now is because legislators are evidently interested in limiting the exposure of sports wagering to minors. State Rep. Richard Bennet (R-Long Beach), who actually wrote the legislation that legalized Mississippi sportsbooks in anticipation of a PASPA repeal, has explicitly said that his goal in crafting the aforementioned law was to make sure sports bettors had to be inside a casino to place wagers on spots. That means, for now anyway, that you will need to be 21 to get in on the action, and if you want to bet using a smartphone you will have to do it inside the actual casino building in which the sportsbook is located.
We’ve already talked quite a bit about the particulars of how Mississippi sportsbooks are finally going to become a legal reality after so long, and that is a conversation with far-reaching relevance for veteran bettors and newcomers alike since both groups will be equally affected by the new laws regulating the hobby. However, we shouldn’t neglect going over a beginner’s guide to sports betting in all the excitement, but we can’t properly do that in this limited space. Suffice it to say that without a solid understanding of the fundamental principles that goes into researching matchups and navigating the sports betting world that actually having the legal ability to make bets on your favorite teams and athletes would not be nearly as beneficial to you, the bettor.
For more information on this topic, we would like to direct our readers over to our pages detailing how to read odds, the different wager types available and how to handle sportsbook deposits and sportsbook withdrawals. We also discuss the art of handicapping sports, the pros and cons of taking a deposit bonus and new web-only innovations like live betting.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as sports betting enthusiast is limiting yourself to just one sportsbook. If, for instance, you should find yourself on the Biloxi strip with sportsbooks at every casino around you, why in the world would you intentionally only visit one of them? You could easily be missing out on better odds offered at another, competing betting shop right across the street or just down the road. The same concept of shopping lines – or line-shopping if you like hyphens as much as we do – applies equally to internet sportsbooks as much as it does to land-based casino ‘books.
We have a whole page dedicated to this topic, in which we will get into related concepts like looking for the best odds possible, advanced strategies like hedging your bets and maintaining multiple sportsbook accounts at legal Mississippi sportsbooks. Head on over there for more information.