Choctaw Believed To Be First Tribe To Offer Sports Betting
Legal Sports Report

Choctaw Tribe Goes With IGT As Its Mississippi Sports Betting Operator

Mississippi sports betting

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians announced recently a partnership with International Game Technology (IGT) that will allow the tribe to utilize the company’s PlayDigital sports betting solution, PlayShot.

“IGT’s leading entry into the tribal gaming sports betting space demonstrates how a wide variety of casino operators can benefit from our flexible, market-ready PlayShot sports betting solution,” said Enrico Drago, IGT senior vice president PlayDigital, in a statement.

IGT will provide PlayShot at Pearl River Resorts’ Golden Moon Hotel & Casino, which opened its Sportsbook at Timeout Lounge on Sept. 2.

Creating the partnership

Neal Atkinson, director of table games, poker, bingo and sportsbook operations at Pearl River, said the company already was looking for a partner prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s repeal of PASPA in May.

“We knew it would be a possibility [to offer sports betting] but we didn’t know if the decision would apply to us,” Atkinson told Legal Sports Report.

Atkinson said more than 20 RFPs were distributed to major sports betting operators including William Hill, SBTech, Station and IGT.

“We went through the process and did our due diligence,” Atkinson said. “We invited the top four to come down and do a presentation for us. We didn’t just pick someone out of a hat.”

Why IGT was the winner

Following the demise of the PASPA, the Magnolia State was quick to introduce Mississippi sports betting.

According to Atkinson, one reason the tribe chose IGT as the official sportsbook operator was its ties with the Choctaw Gaming Commission and their experience in the U.S. regulated market.

“They also committed to meet our timeline, which was ultra-aggressive,” Atkinson said.

According to the release, IGT technology will allow customers to place pre-match and in-play wagers at the three Mississippi tribal casinos. Additionally, there are plans for IGT kiosks and other forms of mobile wagering to be added in the future. Mississippi regulations do not allow mobile sports betting away from casino grounds, but that could change in the future.

PlayShot also will be provided at Silver Star Hotel & Casino and at Bok Homa Casino in Sandersville, MS.

“It came down to what best fit our regulatory environment,” Atkinson said. ‘There are a lot of good products to pick from and the stars aligned for us and IGT.”

Mississippi sports betting across the state

Mississippi was the fourth state outside with legal sports betting, and third to launch following PASPA’s repeal. Its market continues to expand rapidly.

Here is a list of sportsbooks in the state:

  • 1st Jackpot Casino Tunica
  • Beau Rivage
  • Boomtown Casino
  • Gold Strike
  • Golden Moon Casino (tribal)
  • Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast
  • Hollywood Casino Tunica
  • Horseshoe Casino Tunica
  • IP Casino Biloxi
  • Resorts Casino Tunica
  • Sam’s Town

Mobile wagering is permitted within the grounds of a casino. Without mobile available, most Mississippi operators expect SEC football to drive traffic to their physical sportsbooks. The state’s first gaming revenue report including legal sports betting is expected to be released this week.

Nicholaus Garcia
- Nick comes from West Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in psychology. After a five-year stint in Chicago, where he wrote about local politics and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, he moved to Washington, D.C. to write about issues related to gambling policy, sports betting and responsible gaming.

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