Mississippi gaming committee working to develop mobile sports betting

With Louisiana now in the sports betting game, state leaders are working to develop mobile...
With Louisiana now in the sports betting game, state leaders are working to develop mobile betting that will keep money flowing at Mississippi sportsbooks.
Published: Nov. 6, 2021 at 11:02 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 7, 2021 at 12:02 AM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Casino leaders and state representatives now face a problem. Mobile sports betting is gaining popularity but it remains illegal in the Magnolia State.

Sports betting is still in its infancy here in the Magnolia State. When sportsbooks first opened, everyone was excited and Mississippi was ahead of the curve.

”We really got a good leg up on the competitive nature of the states around us. Tennessee, a few years ago went ahead and passed sports legislation that allowed mobile sports throughout the state. They don’t have any brick-and-mortar casinos, they don’t have any casinos that offer it. It is all done mobile,” said MGM Resorts Southeast Group Vice President and Legal Counsel Anthony Delvescovo.

The change is now eating away at gambling profits on the north side of the state in particular.

”The Tunica market took an immediate hit of 25% of their local market and I tell you right now, the numbers for September, 250 million dollars were wagered in the state of Tennessee just in September,” said Delvescovo.

In the next few months, we could see the same dip in profits on the Coast.

”With Louisiana coming on line we can expect the same declines in the river counties, the gulf coast counties, Alabama is another state talking about it heavily,” said Delvescovo.

So what are state leaders doing? Casey Eure, chair of the House Gaming Committee believes the state is making progress.

”When we pass mobile sports betting, we’ll do it the right way. I think we’re close,” said Eure.

The Gaming Committee Chair wants to protect the brick-and-mortar casinos and stresses any legislation his committee adopts will prevent any mobile sports betting company from opening their own books.

“If they want to team up with Draft Kings and Fanduel, that’s fine,” said Eure.

A point of contention that could be an issue to passing mobile sports betting is how the legislature will divide up the sales tax from each bet.

Will the county or community where the bet was made benefit? Or the community where the casino operates? It is one of the topics that legislators will discuss when the legislature goes back into session.

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