Mississippi Sports Betting Finally Has Launch Date

Mississippi Sports Betting Finally Has Launch Date

Mississippi is finally ready to take its first sports bet.

A contingent of celebrity bettors will place the inaugural wagers at noon Aug. 1. at both the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi and Gold Strike Casino in Tunica. Members of the public can place their bets immediately afterward.

Sports betting comes to the Magnolia State 26 years to the day after Mississippi opened its first casino. Mississippi will be the fourth state in America to take legal sports bets and the first in the southern portion of the country.

Upward of two dozen Mississippi casinos could take wagers after MGM’s Beau Rivage and Gold Strike receive their first bet on Wednesday. Boyd Gaming’s IP Casino in Biloxi and Sam’s Town in Tunica announced plans to take bets within the next few weeks. Caesars properties in the two gaming centers, the Harrah’s Gulf Coast in Biloxi and the Horseshoe Tunica, also intend to have betting at their facilities in August.

Most significantly, this means Mississippi will have at least two sports betting options, and likely more, in time for football season. Far and away the leading sport in total gambling revenue, bettors will now have the entire 2018 college and professional football season slates to bet on. Mississippi, unlike other states with legalized wagering, will allow bets on college teams in the state. That includes Division I programs Mississippi State, the University of Mississippi and Southern Mississippi University.

Gambling Comes After Delay

The third state in the nation with casino gambling after Nevada and New Jersey, Mississippi looked to follow those two again with sports betting. The state legislature passed a bill legalizing wagering even before the federal ban was repealed. After the Supreme Court revoked the federal ban, Mississippi regulators began preparations for legalized gambling on sporting events.

Mississippi’s early legalization law positioned it to possibly be the first state outside Nevada to legal sports bets, and many of the state’s 28 casinos began preparations to open sportsbooks months ago. As the gaming facilities hurried, regulators took their time finalizing regulations.

Delaware, which had a limited exemption from the original federal ban, moved quickly and had its laws and regulations finalized within a month after the Supreme Court ruling. New Jersey, which led the initial legal challenge to the ban, followed shortly after.

In Mississippi, the state gaming commission didn’t finalize regulations until late June. State law required an additional 30-day public comment and review period, further delaying the process. Another hiccup came when casinos had to apply for formal permission to the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

The Beau Rivage and Gold Strike successfully petitioned the MGC and now will take their first of what will be thousands of bets this year. Many of their competitors are set to follow.

Mississippi Leads The Way

Even with the delays, Mississippi is far ahead most of the rest of the country and even further ahead of the game when compared to its southern neighbors.

Only West Virginia, which is finalizing its own regulations, and Rhode Island have timeframes for taking sports bets this year. New York and Pennsylvania have legalized sports wagering, but a myriad of regulatory and taxation issues have prevented them from taking bets. A host of other states are considering legalization legislation, but they are unlikely to come until 2019 at the earliest.

Mississippi still is still significantly ahead of any other states in its region for sports bets. The more conservative southern states have traditionally been slower to adopt gambling and some, including neighboring Alabama, don’t allow casinos or even the lottery. States like Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas have had discussions about sports betting, but nothing seems imminent. In the meantime, the southeastern United States has at least one new sports gaming destination.

Interested in learning more about the current US sports betting landscape? Check out our latest Gamblecast explaining everything you need to know about US sports betting:

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