Back in 2018, Mississippi became one of the first states to legalize sports betting. The Magnolia State was ahead of the curve at the time, but things have changed over the last three years.
Not only has sports betting been approved and launched in more than 15 states, but mobile sports betting is also gaining popularity all over the country. Yet, it remains illegal in Mississippi.
That could be changing soon.
Casey Eure, chair of the House Gaming Committee, told WTOK-11 that Mississippi lawmakers are “close” to making a change.
“When we pass mobile sports betting, we’ll do it the right way,” Eure said. “I think we’re close.”
On-Site Mobile Betting Is Live
While Mississippi aims to launch mobile sports betting statewide, it is available at two in-state casinos.
Beau Rivage in Biloxi and BetMGM Sportsbook announced on Nov. 10 that the BetMGM mobile app is available for guests on-site at Beau Rivage. BetMGM also launched its mobile app at Gold Strike in Tunica on Sept. 23.
BetMGM also has a retail sportsbook at both casinos, but the launch of the mobile app on-site allows users to place wagers from all around the property.
What is Mississippi Missing?
Without statewide mobile sports betting, Mississippi is missing out on gambling profits, particularly on the north side of the state.
Tennessee, Mississippi’s neighbor to the north, launched mobile sports betting in November. Officials with an interest in increasing the amount wagered in Mississippi took notice.
“The Tunica market took an immediate hit of 25% of their local market, and I tell you right now, the numbers for September, 250 million dollars were wagered in the state of Tennessee just in September,” MGM Resorts Southeast Group Vice President and Legal Counsel Anthony Delvescovo said to WLOX in Biloxi.
While Tennessee is eating away at northern Mississippi’s gambling profits, Delvescovo also stated that with Louisiana not far behind, southern Mississippi’s betting market could take a hit as well. Louisiana is aiming to launch mobile sports betting in the coming weeks.
“With Louisiana coming on line we can expect the same declines in the river counties, the Gulf Coast counties,” Delvescovo said. “Alabama is another state talking about it heavily.”
In September, figures from the Mississippi Gaming Commission showed the state saw a 4.9% drop in bets. The addition of mobile betting could be a game-changer.
There are many aspects of mobile sports betting that still need to be figured out before the industry launches in Mississippi. Among those are how to still protect the state’s brick and mortar casinos, and how the sales tax from each bet will be divided up. These topics, among others, will be discussed by state lawmakers in the coming months.