Online Mississippi Sports Betting Expansion Effort Fails To Meet Deadline

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Mississippi sports betting

Online Mississippi sports betting hopes again were dashed Monday as a conference committee on the bill did not come to an agreement.

House Bill 774 died in conference committee Monday, failing to meet a deadline ahead of the May 5 adjournment. One industry source told LSR online Mississippi sports betting expansion is “dead, dead,” while another said there is hope the Senate could amend an existing bill to legalize sports betting.

“Both sides called each other’s bluff and time ran out,” a source said. “I suspect they’ll make a play to put it in another bill.”

Mississippi chamber disagreement

The Mississippi House started the session quickly, acting on the online expansion and passing HB 774 February 1, 97-14. Sports betting on casino property in Mississippi began in 2018.

The initial HB 774 allowed the state’s 26 casinos to offer statewide online sports betting with a 12% tax rate. The Senate did not act on the issue for more than two months before passing a strike-all amendment April 9.

House lawmakers did not concur with the changes and invited the Senate to a conference committee. While the committee was established, the members did not come to a consensus on the issue as the session comes to a close.

Legislators miss on Mississippi sports betting

Heading into the session, industry sources ranked Mississippi among the markets most likely to pass online sports betting legislation this year. 

That followed a Mobile Online Sports Betting Task Force last fall that helped inform the bill this year. Throughout those discussions, Mississippi casinos were split on the issue of expanding sports betting beyond their properties.

“I still think the independent casinos do everything in the power to keep actual online sports betting from passing,” a source told LSR before the session. “Even with talk of tethering or partnering, they feel threatened. But they’re also the most powerful group of casinos in Mississippi, more than Boyd, MGM and Caesars combined.”

While stakeholders remained optimistic following the House’s quick start this session, one of the first US sports betting markets to launch will likely be without statewide online sportsbooks for at least another year.