Mississippi’s Choctaw Becomes First Tribe Outside Nevada To Offer Sports Betting

Written By Bart Shirley on September 4, 2018 - Last Updated on December 20, 2021

The Pearl River Resort opened the Sportsbook at Timeout Lounge on Aug. 30. In doing so, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians became the first Native American tribe to offer sports betting outside of Nevada in US history.

The sportsbook is operating out of the former Timeout Lounge, which was remodeled to house the new operation. The book offers 20 large screen televisions for bettors to view sporting events and 12 more screens for wagering information.

Three wagering stations are available onsite to receive bets in-person. The former sports bar also serves casual food and maintains charging stations for customer cell phones.

For the first two months, the Sportsbook at Timeout Lounge will only operate with in-person wagering. After that time, a limited version of electronic wagering may become available.

Neal Atkinson talked with the Meridian Star about it two weeks ago.

“We anticipate adding account-based mobile wagering on the premises — and I have to stress the ‘on the premises’ part,” said Atkinson, who is director of table games, poker, sportsbook, and bingo operations at Pearl River. “You will have to be there for it to work. That way, people will be able to place money on a wagering account with their phone or tablet anywhere on casino property.”

The Choctaws didn’t stop with one Mississippi sportsbook

The Sportsbook at Timeout Lounge is located in the Golden Moon Casino, one of three casinos located in the Pearl River Resort complex. Two days after the book opened, another sports betting facility onsite welcomed guests.

The Sportsbook at Bok Homa is a smaller sportsbook that began accepting wagers on Sept. 1. Unsurprisingly, it is located in the Bok Homa Casino.

The book offers 13 televisions for patrons to use and a single wagering station. While it is not the main sportsbook onsite, it may hold appeal for certain types of bettors who want a quieter location.

Bok Homa is also the newest casino on the property. The tribe has pledged to open a sportsbook at the third casino, the Silver Star, but there is no firm date for its release.

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Why so many sportsbooks at Pearl River?

It may seem odd that two small casinos in Philadelphia, Mississippi, are on the forefront of the Magnolia State’s sports betting offerings. However, there is one major reason that eastern Mississippi casinos want to take sports bets — Alabama.

The Alabama Crimson Tide‘s football team is a perennial favorite to win almost every single week. Tuscaloosa, the university’s home, is only 117 miles to the east of Pearl River.

So, the tribal leadership is expecting that the Crimson Tide will sweep westward over the next few months. In all likelihood, they’re correct.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a senior evergreen content writer for PlayUSA. He’s been writing and reporting on the gambling industry since 2013. Prior to working for PlayUSA, Shirley was a feature writer for QuadJacks, a site covering issues in poker. He also writes for BonusCodePoker, a poker satire site that lampoons the lighter side of card games. Shirley is a graduate of the MBA program at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business and has a degree in English from Texas A&M University. He grew up in Houston, TX, and lives in Katy, just west of Houston. Shirley is also a former high school teacher. He is married, has one daughter, and practices Brazilian jiu jitsu in his spare time.

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