On May 14, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on state-authorized sports betting, clearing the way for individual states to legalize and regulate sports gambling.
For Mississippi, the SCOTUS decision represented the final piece necessary to regulate an industry that state lawmakers have been moving towards legalizing for over a year.
Mississippi sports betting status
In 2017, Mississippi legalized daily fantasy sports via the Fantasy Contest Act. The law also modified the provision in the 1972 Gaming Control Act that prohibited sports betting. This created the mechanism to regulate sports betting, which then became legal once the SCOTUS decision came down in May.
With 28 casinos and 39 sites operating throughout the state, Mississippi has the infrastructure in place to run live sports books and has long been one of the most aggressive states in pushing for legislation that would allow that industry to thrive.
MGM, which owns the Beau Rivage and Gold Strike Casinos in Mississippi, is poised to spearhead the movement to create those sports books and seems well qualified given its ample holdings in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mississippi Gaming Commissioner Deputy Director Jay McDaniel told Legal Sports Report that he expects those casinos to be able to offer live sports betting by the end of the 2018 Summer, right before the 2018-19 NFL season.
Those casinos are taxed 12 percent on revenue with 8 percent going to the state and 4 percent to local government, so there isn’t much opposition to this potential influx of revenue.
There was some controversy surrounding the 2017 bill in Mississippi that apparently paved the way for legalized sports gambling. Officials have asked for more specific language surrounding the regulation of the industry, but it appears that it’s a matter of when, not if, sports gambling will be offered in Mississippi at brick-and-mortar casinos.
Allowing for online sports gambling platforms would require additional legislation, which may eventually enter the discussion after live sports betting potentially begins this summer. Platforms such as the “PlayMGM” App would be acceptable to use since they only function within the casinos that sanction live betting.
Sports Betting FAQ
When will sports betting be legal in Mississippi?
Mississippi state law repealed any prohibitions on sports gambling, but regulators need to finalize the framework of the industry before it becomes available to the public. This is expected to happen by the end of the 2018 summer.
Where can I place sports bets in Mississippi?
Sports gambling would be limited to the state’s casinos, with the first sports books planning to open at those sites by the end of this summer.
How old do I have to be to bet in Mississippi?
Patrons would have to be at least 21 years old to enter casinos in Mississippi casinos and place wagers.
Can I bet on my mobile device?
Currently, the plan for sports gambling in Mississippi would be restricted to licensed casinos. Mobile wagering would only be allowed within the confines of those establishments unless lawmakers create a separate provision to authorize mobile betting in the state.
Who would oversee Mississippi sports betting?
The Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) would regulate and oversee the sports betting industry.
Can I get into trouble for placing bets with unregulated online sportsbooks before it’s legal in Mississippi?
Yes, in order for a sportsbook to be legal it must be sanctioned by the state and placing bets with an unregulated bookkeeper can result in fines and potential jail time.