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A Twitter post by the company’s Beau Rivage property confirms the long-awaited start of legal sports betting in the Magnolia State:
New era. New game. Sports Book opens August 1st. pic.twitter.com/04cONX806j
— Beau Rivage Casino (@BeauBiloxi) July 30, 2018
A release from the company indicates that Beau Rivage and Gold Strike will start accepting wagers at noon Wednesday. Invited guests including former NFL players Willis McGahee and Stanley Morgan will place simultaneous bets at the two properties to commemorate the opening.
A mature casino market and experienced operators suggest the probability of a smooth rollout of Mississippi sports betting. MGM, Caesars, and Boyd Gaming all own properties in the state, and all possess deep experience in legal sports betting in Nevada.
Mississippi also possesses a major regional advantage by starting quickly. The closest state with legal sports betting is West Virginia, which is not particularly nearby and likely will not launch until September. Other Southern states will explore sports betting legislation in 2019, but Mississippi will be far ahead of the field by then.
The one advantage Mississippi will not have is online and mobile wagering. Bettors in Mississippi will need to place their bets on the property of a casino sportsbook. Limited mobile betting will be allowed on smartphones for people physically within a Mississippi casino.
Sports betting became legal in Mississippi by way of a 2017 law legalizing daily fantasy sports in the state. Legislators quietly removed language prohibiting wagering on sports in the event the federal ban ever fell. That became a reality when the Supreme Court struck down PASPA in May.
Just days later, the Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) issued draft regulations governing sports betting. A month later, those regulations went into effect and applications started to roll in to the MGC. At the time, MGM announced a July 21 launch date for Beau Rivage, but later rescinded that information.
Regulators received 14 applications to start legal sports betting in Mississippi and the list includes most of the expected heavy hitters. They spent the past couple of weeks visiting and inspecting facilities, with the expectation more sportsbooks soon will come online. The start of football season is just weeks away and gridiron betting likely will dominate pigskin-crazed Mississippi.
While MGM made news with its GVC partnership Monday, other Mississippi sports betting deals also made headlines in the past week.
Golden Nugget linked up with SBTech last week to operate in both Mississippi and New Jersey. Caesars announced a deal Monday with Scientific Games to power its sportsbook operations in both states.