Mississippi casinos are still at odds with online sports betting efforts as lawmakers continue learning about the industry.
As the Mississippi legislature’s Mobile Online Sports Betting Task Force met Tuesday, land-based casino operators remain the most vocal opponents of online Mississippi sports betting. Still, lawmakers continue to work toward a report for the entire legislature, which is due Dec. 15.
In-person MS sports betting began in August 2018.
Mississippi casino adds to opposition
Pearl River Resort Race and Sportsbook Director Chris Hopwood urged lawmakers to oppose sports betting expansion. He said the industry would be detrimental to brick-and-mortar casinos and most revenue would leave the state.
Several casinos also spoke out against the issue at last month’s meeting.
There are, however, 26 casinos in the state operated by sixteen companies, including Penn Entertainment and Caesars. Those operators have spoken in favor of online sports betting.
Long way to go for Mississippi sports betting
The legislative task force resulted from failed mobile sports betting legislation earlier this year. The task force’s report is meant to recommend items for the bill, which Legislative PEER Committee Lead Analyst Matthew Holmes updated them on.
Among the items the task force needs to consider:
- Tax rate
- What to tax: handle or revenue
- In-person vs. online registration
- Licensing fees
- Marketing and promotion restrictions
The task force has already agreed to tether licenses to casinos in the state. A survey of 20 casinos found 19 prefer online registration, according to an update to the task force Tuesday.
Lawmakers concerned with problem gaming potential
A few task force members are concerned that a “24/7” casino in Mississippians’s hands would increase the number of the state’s problem gamblers.
Several task force members were concerned with what bets could be offered online. They worried parlay, prop and in-play bets could increase problem gaming.
The opponents are also concerned online sports betting will quickly lead to online casino.