A new bill at the state legislature would bring Mississippi sports betting into the 21st century with mobile wagering.
Sen. Willie Simmons (D-Cleveland) introduced the Gaming Control Act that would, among other changes, legalize mobile Mississippi sports betting.
Mississippi sports betting launched in August with only land- and water-based wagering. Regulations from the Mississippi Gaming Commission prohibit mobile sports betting anywhere but on-site at a casino.
What the law would change
The legislation clears the way for mobile in part by creating a definition of a platform:
“Platform” means a person or entity that operates a sports pool or race book over the Internet, including on websites and mobile devices, on behalf of the holder of a gaming license. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a platform may determine whether to accept or reject wagers, determine the results of wagers, and payout winning wagers.
That would clear the path to get around state regulations:
Except for wagers placed through approved platforms, each licensee shall be required to comply with the regulation that no wager may be placed by, or on behalf of, any individual or entity or group, not present on a licensed vessel or cruise vessel.
The bill also would tax sports betting revenue from mobile and online platforms at 6 percent. Mississippi levies an 8 percent tax on general gaming revenue. The taxes only apply to revenue above $134,000.
December rebound for Mississippi sports betting
The potential for mobile Mississippi sports betting becomes clear when looking at the revenue produced in December:
|Overall December revenue||$906,129||$3,788,337||$1,479,756||$6,174,223|
December proved the strongest month yet for Mississippi with more than $41.7 million in handle and better than $6.1 million in revenue. The previous best came in September with $31.7 million in handle and $5.5 million in revenue.
Slow going without mobile during football season
December’s bounce-back showing helped even out the year for Mississippi sports betting. October and November both underwhelmed in the Magnolia State, ostensibly in part because of the lack of mobile.
Football, the king of the South, generated less than $200,000 in revenue for Mississippi casinos in November. States with mobile sports wagering like New Jersey and Nevada enjoyed record-setting months in the same November period.
Mobile presumably could launch quickly in Mississippi if legalized. Major players in the state’s casino market like MGM Resorts, Caesars, Boyd, and DraftKings Sportsbook already use mobile technology in other states. Those likely could adjust to Mississippi swiftly to power the state’s online wagers.