Sports Betting in Mississippi
Native Americans enriched the gambling history of Mississippi long before it officially became a state. Betting on sports started with the likes of archery and other sporting events where the natives would gather together and place wagers on different teams as they played. It is from this foundation that modern gambling in Mississippi became prevalent. While professional sports are pretty competitive, the state still takes its sports quite seriously, even at the college level. In fact, did you know that In the United States, the Egg Bowl stands as the longest ongoing series in the history of the nation? It has been going on since 1901!
That said, Egg Bowls is one of the hundreds of sporting events that highlight the Magnolia State’s sports calendar annually. Even then, it wasn’t until recently when sports betting was legalized in the state. After years of trying to legalize sports betting, the first bet was placed in 2018 and the gambling industry continues to thrive within the new regulations that allow sports betting. To date, the state legislators are still working to amend sports betting laws in a bid to accommodate operations on a broader scope.
History of Sports Betting in Mississippi
1700s to 1800s
Sports betting has been thriving in Mississippi for centuries going back as far as the 1700s. Residents used to place wagers on horse racing and cockfighting, among other sports. In fact, one of the very first horse racing tracks in Mississippi was constructed in Natchez around 1795 and was called Fleetfield Race track.
While placing wagers on sports at that time wasn’t exactly defined by the law, the popularity of sports betting activities in the Magnolia State continued to soar. However, when the Civil War broke out in the 1860s, the sports betting business took a beating. After things cooled down, it took sometime before things got back on track.
Even when the Mississippi Gaming Control Act was passed in 1990, to allow riverboat casinos to operate within the law, nothing touched on the specifics of sports betting. Come 1992, things got even worse when the PASPA was enacted. It was a law that deemed it illegal to bet on sports across the United States except for four states, which unfortunately did not include the Magnolia State.
While state representatives tried to push for the progression of casino gaming laws, none of the bills that were introduced ever touched on sports betting thanks to the PASPA. Somewhere along the road, however, sports enthusiasts took refuge in fantasy sports games, because it was not defined in the law. Fantasy sports betting was a grey area because technically, players weren’t actually betting on the sports. They bet against each other based on the current matches that were going on in the regular sports calendar. It was a remarkable loophole that locals took advantage of, but not for too long.
Come 2016, fantasy sports participants received a blow. It was a shaky period for daily fantasy sports players as the contests were declared illegal by the Attorney General, Jim Hood, in February. Fortunately, this was immediately challenged by SB2541, the Fantasy Contest Act, which sought out to legalize daily fantasy contests. The bill was introduced by Senator, Sean Tindell, to provide a framework of how the state would regulate the fantasy contests
Amendments that were to be included under the Fantasy Contest Act included details about the allocation of revenues generated from the proposed state lottery, as proposed by Tommy Reynolds, a House Representative.
Fast forward to March of 2017, the Daily Fantasy Sports Bill (HB967) was approved and instituted into law by Phil Bryant as Governor in Mississippi. This was after the Bill got 46 votes in favor of the Bill and a mere 6 votes rejecting it.
On May 14th in 2018, one of the most significant events in the gambling industry in the United States of America occurred. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 was repealed after more than a decade of continuous objections from several states.
This marked the beginning of a new era of gambling. In Mississippi, the Choctaw Tribal Commission took the first step towards legalizing gambling by authorizing sports betting in all tribal casinos in Mississippi. This was possible because tribal casinos operated under separate regulations. Skill-based gaming, eSports, new gaming machine products, and fantasy sports were some of the other products that were included with these new regulations.
Not long after, the Gaming Commission of Mississippi voted to approve new sports betting regulations as well. The new regulations were scheduled to commence in July of that year. One of the standout highlights of the new regulations was the approval of betting on state collegiate events apart from professional states alone.
Casino Sports Betting in Mississippi
The state of Mississippi officially legalized sports betting in 2018 when the Gaming Commission approved the new regulations following the repeal of PASPA. These regulations also exempted the integrity fee paid by sports leagues to governing bodies in the state.
However, the state of Mississippi only allows sports betting within any of the licensed land-based casinos in the state, and only players above 21 years old are allowed to participate.
To mark this memorable moment in the Magnolia State, the first legal wagers on sports events were placed at noon on 1st August. The bets were staked at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino and the Gold Strike Casino platforms, which are located in Biloxi and Tunica, respectively. The MGM Brand operates these two casinos.
Where Can I bet on Sports in Mississippi?
The table below is a highlight of some of the pioneer land-based casinos where you can legally bet on sports in Mississippi, complete with the date when sports betting commenced.
|Gaming Operator||Date of Launch||Sportsbook Casino(s)||Location|
|MGM||1st August 2019||Beau Rivage Resort & Casinos||Biloxi|
|Gold Strike Casino||Tunica|
|Penn Gaming||17th August 2018||Boomtown Casino Biloxi||Biloxi|
|Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast||Gulf Coast|
|24th August 2018||Hollywood Casino, 1st Jackpot Casino,||Tunica|
|Resorts Casino (Closed on June 30th, 2019)|
|Churchill Downs||23rd August 2018||Harlow’s Casino Resort and Spa||Greenville|
|Riverwalk Casino Hotel||Vicksburg.|
|Pearl River Resorts||30th August 2018||Golden Moon Hote and Casino,||Philadelphia|
|1st September 2018||Bok Homa Casino||Heidelberg|
|Pinnacle Entertainment||31st August 2018||Ameristar Casino||Vicksburg|
|FanDuel||13th September 2018||IP Casino Resort and Spa||Biloxi|
|Scarlet pearl||1st November 2018||Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort||Biloxi|
Other newly licensed casino sportsbooks in the Magnolia State include Fitzgerald’s Tunica, Hollywood Casino Tunica, Palace Casino, Treasure Bay Casino, Sam’s Town Tunica, WaterView Casino and Hotel, and Hard Rock Casino Resort among others.
Tribal Casino Sports betting
As the tribal casinos in Mississippi abide by their own regulations, in 2018, sports betting was approved by the Choctaw Tribal Council post-PASPA repeal. This, of course, only applies to the three licensed tribal casinos in the state. Of which, the first tribal casino to launch a sportsbook that was approved by the Choctaw Tribal Commission is called Pearl River Casino and Resort, located in central Mississippi.
Fantasy Sports Betting
Daily Fantasy Sports games have been legalized in Mississippi for close to two years now, following the approval of the Daily Fantasy Sports Bill HB967 in 2017. Preceding this Daily Fantasy Sports Bill, was the SB2541 that had been signed into law to establish a Fantasy Contest Task Force. This task force was given the responsibility of reviewing the implications that fantasy sports contests have in relation to the gambling industry in anticipation of its legalization. After fantasy sports were without doubts deemed contests of skill unlike regular gambling, it was easier to approve and sign HB967 into law.
If you’d like to have a taste of the Daily Fantasy Sports contests, you can access the games on popular sites like FanDuel, DraftKings, and FantasyDraft legally. Fans can even take part in top leagues like the MLB and NBA, as well as the NFL.
Online Sports Betting
The State of Mississippi only allows bettors who are physically located on the grounds of a licensed brick-and-mortar casino to bet. For online sports betting, however, the only form of online betting permitted in the state is in Daily Fantasy Sports. This law was passed in 2018 when sports betting was approved.
This might prove detrimental to the state as other states in the U.S continue to legalize online sportsbooks through dozens of online gaming operators and are generating high revenues from it. However, many officials are challenging the current regulations, giving hope to online operators and bettors in the state. The main factor holding state laws from legalizing sports betting seems to be the high tax revenues the state collects from licensed land-based casino sportsbooks. This is understandable given that the state was already receiving millions of dollars from the gambling industry before current changes in the industry’s regulations.
|Sports Betting Highlights in Mississippi|
|Regulatory Body||Mississippi Gaming Commission|
|Tribal Casinos Regulatory Body||Choctaw Gaming Commission|
|Key Legislations||Gaming Control Act (1990),|
|Mississippi Gaming Commission Regulations,|
|Charitable Bingo Law (1992).|
|Taxation||8% for Casinos|
|Number of Licensed sportsbooks casinos||25|
|National Lottery Rankings||N/A|
|Casino Gambling||Only at licensed casinos|
|Sports Betting||Allowed at land-based casinos|
|Online Sports Betting||Not Allowed|
Future of Sports Betting in Mississippi
Given the nature of the response gotten after the repeal of PASPA in Mississippi, it is clear that sports betting will continue to thrive in the state. Online sports betting will presumably follow suit as technology continues to advance. There’s a chance that Mississippi could be forced to expand its infrastructure and therefore take online gambling laws a step further.
Surrounding states have implemented laws legalizing online sports gambling and are generating revenue directly from it. This will probably push the state of Mississippi towards doing the same, especially if its residents express great interest in the same.
Nevertheless, billions of dollars are already being generated by state casinos from foot traffic. This might hold back any near plans to embrace online sports betting and other forms of online gambling. Consequently, if you have to bet on sports online in the Magnolia State, the only way you can do that is through Fantasy Sports.