Gutted Online Mississippi Sports Betting Bill Heads To Senate

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Mississippi sports betting

The Mississippi Senate is slated to consider a path for online Mississippi sports betting, after a study bill overwhelmingly cleared the House last week.

H.B. 606 passed the Mississippi House 140-4, just a few days after a House Committee reshaped it to study online MS sports betting.

Previously, it would have fully authorized legal sports betting apps statewide.

Mississippi sports betting task force

BetMGM is the state’s only operational mobile app, though users must be within an MGM casino or partnered property to use it. As introduced, H.B. 606 would have allowed the state’s 28 casinos to partner with one mobile sportsbook each.

After the House Appropriation committee’s amendments, the bill would task an 11-member task force with producing a report on online sports betting by October 15. It would analyze fees and tax structures, among other things.

Officials from the state Gaming Commission, Department of Revenue and Gaming and Hospitality Association would serve as members or designate members in their stead. Several lawmakers could also serve on the committee. A list of members must be finalized no later than 30 days after the law’s effective date.

Going online has not been easy

The bill’s big change is yet another sign of the state’s resistance to online gambling, though it was one of the earliest actors on in-person sports betting.

Mississippi was the third state to legalize sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on wagering outside of Nevada in 2018. It was also an early adopter of casinos, some of which could be hesitant to share revenue with out-of-state corporations like FanDuel or DraftKings.

Mississippi lawmakers have presented half a dozen online sports betting proposals since. None received a floor vote.

Neighboring Louisiana and Tennessee are the only other southeastern sates to legalize sports betting.