Mississippi Rises in Sports Betting Handle But Revenue Down

Mississippi Rises in Sports Betting Handle But Revenue Down
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Mississippi’s up-and-down year for sports betting continued in May, with a rise in handle nearly matched by a decrease in revenue compared to April.

The Mississippi sports betting figures, reported by the Mississippi Gaming Commission, showed a rise of 9.7% in handle compared to April, from $32,917,836 to $36,125,896.

However, the sports betting revenue fell from $4,300,968 in April to $3,888,299 in May, a 9.6% fall that almost exactly matched the amount of the handle’s increase.

The difference is in the win percentage, or hold, at the Mississippi casinos.

In April, the hold was 13.07%, a very high percentage compared to nationwide numbers that usually hover in the 5% to 8% range. In May the hold was 10.76%, still a nice number but a definite drop from April.

Mississippi set its state record for sports betting handle in January at $67.7 million. But, following a trend all over the country with football season ending, handle hasn’t come close to that mark since. It likely won’t until next football season; that will be the case throughout the country but even more so in a Deep South state where the NFL and SEC football are by far the biggest sports.

Mississippi Sports Betting, May vs. April

Betting handle Revenue
May $36.126M $3.888M
April $32.918M $4.301M
Change Up 9.7% Down 9.6%

Basketball Favored in May

With no live football, Mississippi sports bettors turned to basketball more than anything else in May. The total handle for hoops wagers was about $15 million in May, compared to $7.4 million for baseball, nearly $6 million for parlay cards and about $7.7 million for the “other” category.

As always, analysis of sports betting numbers in Mississippi must be tempered by the fact that there is no true mobile sports betting option in the Magnolia State. Customers wishing to place a bet on their phones must do so within a casino.

That helps explain why a state like Iowa, with almost an identical population (about 3.17 million compared to Mississippi’s 2.97 million) and a similar lack of major professional sports team in-state, racks up at least three times the handle of Mississippi on a monthly basis. Iowa’s handle for May sports betting was nearly $115 million.

In February, two Mississippi state Senate bills — SB 2732 and SB 2396 — failed to get out of committee and never got to a full vote in a legislative session.

Other Mississippi Gaming Numbers

Slots and table games were up in May compared to April in Mississippi.

The May slots drop, or handle, was $2.603 billion, up 0.9% from April ($2.580 billion). But, like sports betting, the win fell from $219.7 million to about $204.5 million.

The picture was better for the state with table games. The drop in May was $187.1 million, 6.8% higher than April’s $175.2 million, and the hold rose 0.4%, from $32.87 million in April to $32.99 million in May.