Mississippi Sports Betting Handle Falters in March

Mississippi Sports Betting Handle Falters in March
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Sports betting handle in Mississippi saw a steep decline — 68.8% — in March with sports and the nation being shut down halfway through the month. The year-over-year numbers also plummeted.

The drop in March was expected after the Mississippi Gaming Commission ordered casinos closed March 16 just days after all major sports leagues and sporting events were postponed or canceled as a precaution during the coronavirus pandemic. The Mississippi casinos were shut down until further notice and remain closed.

RELATED: More on Mississippi gambling

The March sports betting handle in Mississippi was $10.749 million, down from February’s $34,462,822, according to figures on the state website this week.

Mississippi Sports Betting Handle, March vs. February

Central Casinos$1.623M$4.302M-62.3%
Coastal Casinos$6.602M$22.525M -70.7%
Northern Casinos$2.524$7.636M -66.9%
Total$10.749M$34.463M -68.8%

Revenue also fell in March to $648,646.60, down from $2,105,780 in February. That is a 69.2% drop and is consistent with the percentage decline of the overall sports betting handle.

The decline was most evident at Mississippi’s usually busy Coastal Region casinos. They saw a drop of 70.7% to $6.602 million. Central Mississippi casinos saw the smallest drop at 62.3%, but brought in just $1.623 million, the lowest total of the three regions. The Northern Region casinos ended the month with a handle of $2.524 million, a 66.9% drop.

A year-over-year comparison for the March numbers reveals a 66.8% decline from the $32.421 million registered in 2019. February’s total handle in 2020 was a 37% increase over 2019.

Mississippi Year-Over-Year Sports Betting Handle

March ’20March ‘19Change
Central Casinos$1.623M$4.711M -65.5%
Coastal Casinos$6.602M$18.502M -64.3%
Northern Casinos$2.524M$9.207M -72.6%
Total$10.749M$32.421 -66.8%

Lack Of Mobile Outside Of Casinos Hurts

Without the wide-ranging mobile sports betting markets that other states have — with the ability to place wagers anywhere in the state — Mississippi hasn’t been able to take advantage of a potentially huge revenue stream.

New Jersey sportsbooks, despite a 63.2% decline in total sports betting handle reported Wednesday, still saw 89.9% of its bets placed via mobile. New Jersey has consistently seen more than 85% of its sports betting handle placed through mobile/online options.

Sportsbooks in Pennsylvania reported its sports betting figures on Thursday and the mobile betting share of the market surpassed 90% for March.

Even if sports return — the PGA Tour said Thursday it will be back in action on June 11 — and if casinos are up and running by then, will people be willing to go to casinos to place their bets? Without a mobile option that’s the only way bets can be placed in Mississippi.

It’s possible more states will consider adding mobile sports betting, online casino gaming and online poker when they look to make up for revenue lost because of the shutdown.

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