Mississippi legalized Daily Fantasy Sports in 2016. Though the original bill brought in was a temporary measure that would only last a year, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a permanent DFS law a year later. Under the current law, Mississippi earns 8% in tax on the games' revenue. It operates with major brands such as DraftKings and FanDuel, which pay a license of $5,000 for three years.
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Mississippi's gambling history is tied to the river after which the state is named and the many riverboat casinos that used to paddle along it. After a long prohibition, there are still riverboat casinos. There are commercial and Native American casinos on land now too. This has helped make the Magnolia State one of the top gaming destination in the nation, a surprising development for the self-described "buckle of the bible belt."
Although Las Vegas and New Jersey are synonymous with U.S. gambling, the third most visited destination for gambling is none other than Tunica, Mississippi. This is thanks to the town's proximity to the Mississippi River, along whose banks many casinos set up shop after a legal loophole was found that established riverboat casinos could operate while docked. Other towns have followed suit, and Mississippi offers ample gambling opportunities in nearly every corner of the state.
This progressive attitude in a conservative state continued with sports betting, as it became the fourth state in the nation to take a legal wager. It's online offerings are still lacking compared to other early adaptors, but Mississippi is still on the right path to maintain it's position as the top gaming center of the south and one of the most lucrative in the nation.
While land-based and river-based casinos have thrived in Mississippi, the law has made online gambling in Mississippi illegal. But given that Mississippi legalized Daily Fantasy Sports betting as well as real-cash sports betting in casinos, it might not be too long before Mississippi lawmakers seriously reconsider the online gambling laws.
There have been several attempts to spark debate and introduce legislation around online poker in Mississippi. In 2012, lawmakers tried to bring about changes that would see the Mississippi online poker legalized and regulated by the Mississippi Gaming Commission. State Rep. Bobby Moak reintroduced his bill again in 2013, but the bill did not gain enough traction. However, three states— New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada—have since created online gambling laws that Mississippi could look to emulate, especially as several casinos have filed bankruptcy in recent years.
Most of Mississippi's more than two-dozen casinos can now take sports bets following the Supreme Court decision to strike down the federal ban. Mississippi lawmakers approved legal sports betting even before the court removed the ban and was positioned to be among the first states outside Nevada to take a legal wager. Mississippi is the first state in the south and the fourth state overall to take wagers. Players currently can only bet either through counters or online within casino properties, but there are rumblings the state may look to expand a statewide mobile betting option similar to the system in New Jersey and Nevada. For now, players must be within the confines of a casino to place a bet.