MGM Allows On-Site Mobile Sports Betting in Mississippi, as Lawmakers Consider Off-Site Wagering

MGM Allows On-Site Mobile Sports Betting in Mississippi, as Lawmakers Consider Off-Site Wagering
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The Mississippi Gaming Commission has not received any additional requests from casinos to offer on-site mobile sports betting in Mississippi, according to the state’s top regulator.

Meanwhile, legislation has been introduced at the Capitol in Jackson that would allow bettors to use smartphones and computers to place sports wagers anywhere in the state.

Jay McDaniel, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, told Gambling.com he has not been approached in the new year by additional casino companies wanting on-site mobile sports betting.

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Late last year, two MGM Resorts properties became the first at state-regulated casinos in Mississippi to offer the BetMGM app for customers to use, but only if the bettor is somewhere on the resort’s property.

Mississippi is home to 26 state-regulated casinos, with 12 located along the Gulf Coast, including eight in the Biloxi area. Bettors in Mississippi can place wagers in person at sportsbooks inside casinos.

One of the two MGM Resorts properties with on-site mobile wagering is the Gold Strike Resort and Casino in Tunica, 40 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee. The other is Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi.

New Law Required for Off-Site Mobile Wagering

According to Mississippi law, legal mobile sports betting can only occur if the user is somewhere on the casino grounds.

This could change under a bill introduced earlier this month at the start of the legislative session. The session runs through April 3.

Under House Bill 184, sponsored by Rep. Cedric Burnett, D-Jackson, off-site mobile sports betting would be allowed statewide. The bill is awaiting action in the House Gaming and Ways and Means committees, according to a Mississippi bill-tracking website.

McDaniel told Gambling.com in a recent Q&A that Mississippi residents who want mobile sports betting should reach out to lawmakers.

“To those in Mississippi who wish to have it, I would say contact your state senator or representative and let them know your thoughts,” he said.

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Online Betting Legal in Tennessee, Louisiana

Mississippi is bordered by one state where mobile sports betting already Is taking place and two others that could have it soon.

Tennessee, which doesn’t have brick-and-mortar casinos, kicked off its mobile sports betting program in November 2022.

In Louisiana, sports betting became legal over the summer with Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ signature on gaming legislation.

The new law allows sports wagering, including the use of smartphones and computers, in the 55 of 64 parishes that approved it during a 2020 statewide election.

After state regulators set the rules to govern the industry, the first on-site sports bet at a ticket window inside a Louisiana casino took place on Oct. 31. Now, more than a dozen state-regulated casinos have casino sportsbooks.

Mobile sports betting is expected to begin in time for the Feb. 13 NFL Super Bowl, or possibly even by the end of January.

Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns, a former Republican state senator from the Lake Charles area, told Gambling.com regulators want to be certain geofencing works properly in restricting sports betting to the parishes where it is legal. In Louisiana, counties are referred to as parishes.

Vote Expected This Month in Arkansas

In another neighboring state, the state Racing Commission approved a rule change on Dec. 30 to permit statewide Arkansas online sports betting.

A legislative panel that reviews proposed state rule changes is expected to vote on mobile wagering soon, possibly at its next meeting on Jan. 28.

If approved, mobile sports betting could begin in Arkansas by next month. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he supports mobile wagering partly because it would keep Arkansas competitive with neighboring states that have it.

The rule change includes a provision granting local casinos 51% of profits in partnerships with national online bookmakers. The bookmakers normally share 5-15%.

Arkansas is the first state to put revenue-sharing percentages into a state rule. In other states, the percentages are worked out between the bookmakers and their casino partners.

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