Mississippi Sports Betting Launch Drawing Very Near

Posted By Bart Shirley on July 20, 2018 - Last Updated on July 21, 2018

Mississippi is poised to become the next state with sports betting in the United States. Magnolia State casinos could begin accepting wagers within a week.

A state official told Legal Sports Report that there is “a lot of work still going on” at the regulatory level. Also, the official ruled out the possibility of Mississippi sports betting this weekend.

That statement sealed the inaccuracy of an MGM Resorts tweet last month. The now-deleted tweet announced that sports betting would commence at Gold Strike and Beau Rivage on July 21.

However, whenever Mississippi regulators give the green light, the state will likely become the fourth state to offer legal sports betting in the US, and the third to do so since the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA.

Mississippi sports betting law a lesson in wisdom

When a Mississippian makes the first bet on sports in-state, it will represent the culmination of some excellent foresight and legislative planning. Mississippi’s 2017 sports betting law is unique in the fact that it never mentions sports betting.

In writing H 967, a law that mostly governed daily fantasy sports, legislators inserted language to strike pertinent language out of the existing code. At the time, the Mississippi Gaming Control Act stated:

No wagering shall be allowed on the outcome of any athletic event, nor on any matter to be determined during an athletic event, nor on the outcome of any event which does not take place on the premises.

H 967 just eliminated that portion of the Act. Without that prohibition, sports betting was, by default, now allowed in Mississippi.

Of course, the state had to wait for the federal ban to lift in order to offer wagering. To that end, Mississippi was the most aggressive state to challenge PASPA besides New Jersey.

Mississippi sports betting triggers a special session?

Mississippi will tax sports betting revenue at 12 percent. That figure is the same percentage as other gaming taxes in the state. State and local authorities split the tax, with 8 percent going to the state and 4 percent to the localities.

The state’s revenue will default into the state’s general fund. Some state legislators want the new revenue stream to divert into needed infrastructure projects. In order for such a change to proceed, legislators would have to meet for a special session.

However, a special session may indeed be in the offing. Gov. Phil Bryant has indicated that he would like to call one to address a host of issues, including the sports betting revenue question.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a writer who covers the NJ online gambling and sports betting industries as well as a poker player from Houston, Texas. He has a master's degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and a degree in English from Texas A&M. In his spare time, Bart teaches math and business at Memorial High School in Houston.

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