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MGM Resorts‘ casinos in Mississippi were supposed to have legal sports betting starting on July 21, according to a tweet from the company. However, that tweet has since been deleted.
That means if you visit either the Beau Rivage in Biloxi or the Gold Strike in Tunica, you might be able to bet legally in exactly a month. But the deletion of the tweet puts that timeline up in the air.
That came after the Mississippi Gaming Commission voted Thursday morning to adopt regulations to oversee sports betting at casinos in the state. The commission drafted regulations 30 days ago and put them up for public review, and it appears no major changes were made. That means Mississippi sports betting is on the immediate horizon.
That means sportsbooks in the state could be open as soon as this summer, and almost certainly before the start of football season.
Mississippi sports betting was legalized under a 2017 daily fantasy sports law. Lawmakers quietly removed a prohibition on sports betting via the DFS law — so quietly that some legislators discussed reconsidering the decision. None moved forward with such an effort though.
As a result of the change, tribal casinos in the state also started taking action to offer wagering as well.
Under the approved regulations, only existing gaming licenseholders can offer sports betting in Mississippi. Each still must apply to the MGC for approval.
An updated piece to the regulations involves contractors or partners that casinos might use to facilitate sports betting:
A person or entity that a casino operator contracts with to assist in the offering of race book or sports pool wagering by providing operational, technical or other associated support shall obtain a manufacturer license and a distributor license from the Commission. Applications for such a license must be made, processed, and determined in the same manner as applications for gaming licenses, using such forms as the Commission may require. Employees of such a noncasino entity shall be licensed or permitted consistent with the applicable provisions of the Gaming Control Act and these Regulations.
This would subject potential casino partners like William Hill to approval by the gaming commission.
You will only be able to place bets at land- or water-based casinos under the regulations. Mobile wagering will be allowed, but only on the grounds of a casino. Even to do that, players must first set up the mobile account at the physical sportsbook in the casino.
The regulations get highly specific on location; for instance, mobile wagering cannot be done from the parking garage.
This means mobile wagering like that in Nevada — where players can bet anywhere within state lines — will not happen for now.
Both Caesars and MGM Resorts are hiring positions related to legal sports betting in the state.
Caesars and MGM have sportsbooks in Nevada, the home of legal US sports betting. They tout their expertise from Nevada in plans to enter the Mississippi market.
The plans of other casinos remain unknown.
Delaware and New Jersey already joined Nevada in offering single-game sports betting following the repeal of PASPA. Rhode Island and West Virginia appear ready to fire up their sportsbooks before football kicks off. Pennsylvania is open for license applications, but its fee and tax structure so far has scared off operators.
Geographically, Mississippi will be the only state offering sports betting in its region this year, at least as of now.