In 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act to open the door for state-regulated wagering. But Mississippi had already begun the process a good year before this landmark decision.
The Magnolia State in 2017 repealed a portion of its state law that criminalized sports betting, as legislators had already started preparing to craft regulations for legal wagering.
Where college football is king, where gambling has existed for centuries, Mississippi wasted little time capitalizing on the Supreme Court’s PASPA ruling. Rules were drafted within hours of that 2018 decision, applications began trickling in a month later, and on Aug. 1, 2018, the industry opened.
Now, 29 properties in the state offer regulated wagering, though the industry essentially remains limited to water- and land-based casinos. Online sports betting technically exists, but only while bettors are physically at one of those properties.
Here’s a deep dive into the current state of Mississippi sports betting, how it came to be and where it could go.
Last updated: October 2, 2020
It should come as no surprise that the return of major sports helped Mississippi sports betting boom in August.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission reported a nearly 28% year-over-year increase in regulated wagering revenue for August.
Operators in the state combined for some $3.7 million, a sizable spike from July’s $1.3 million total. Bettors in August placed over $40.4 million in bets, again a seismic shift from the $7.9 million handle the previous month.
Basketball accounted for just under $20 million in August handle, while baseball generated nearly $10 million.
Gambling seems something of a pastime in Mississippi.
With the Mississippi River providing ease of access, the Magnolia State quickly became a hub for explorers and travelers. This allowed the masses to take part in horse betting and card games, among other activities.
Eventually, the state developed into the nation’s third-largest casino market.
But it wasn’t until 2018 when legal sports betting emerged — for a variety of reasons, obviously, not the least of which was federal prohibition.
Still, the industry quickly boomed, as now nearly 30 retail sportsbooks exist throughout the state, paying 12% tax on revenue.
Destinations abound for those looking to take part in Mississippi sports betting.
However, bettors will need to head to a casino in order to do so. The law limits regulated wagering to on-site properties, including any online betting.
Legislators have attempted to enact measures to expand the allowance of mobile wagering. Two bills to authorize full online access failed, however: one in 2019 and another in early 2020.
As a result, bettors in Mississippi can only access legal sportsbooks at the following locations:
|Bok Homa Casino||IGT||Both|
|Golden Moon Hotel & Casino||IGT||Both|
|Silver Star Hotel & Casino||IGT||Both|
|1st Jackpot Casino Tunica||William Hill||Retail|
|Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg||William Hill||Retail|
|Beau Rivage Resort & Casino||MGM||Retail|
|Boomtown Casino Biloxi||William Hill||Retail|
|Fitz Tunica Casino & Hotel||Foundation Gaming Group||Retail|
|Gold Strike Casino Resort||MGM||Retail|
|Golden Nugget Biloxi Hotel & Casino||Golden Nugget||Retail|
|Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Biloxi||Hard Rock||Retail|
|Harlow's Casino Resort||BetAmerica||Retail|
|Harrah's Gulf Coast||Caesars||Retail|
|Hollywood Casino & Resort Gulf Coast||William Hill||Retail|
|Hollywood Casino & Hotel Tunica||William Hill||Retail|
|IP Casino Resort Spa||FanDuel Sportsbook||Retail|
|Island View Casino Resort||William Hill||Retail|
|Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lula||William Hill||Retail|
|Casino Vicksburg||William Hill||Retail|
|Magnolia Bluffs Casino||MBC Sportsbook||Retail|
|Palace Casino Resort||William Hill||Retail|
|Riverwalk Casino Hotel||BetAmerica||Retail|
|Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall||FanDuel Sportsbook||Retail|
|Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort||DraftKings Sportsbook||Retail|
|Silver Slipper Casino Hotel||William Hill||Retail|
|Treasure Bay Casino and Hotel||William Hill||Retail|
|Trop Greenville||William Hill||Retail|
|WaterView Casino & Hotel||William Hill||Retail|
As typical with most state-regulated sports betting industries, Mississippi operators are authorized to offer wagers on all major pro and college sports.
The latter category certainly attracts plenty of attention, what with the state located in the heart of SEC country.
Of course, betting on major sports carries the load. Those obviously include baseball, basketball and football. Add in hockey and Mississippi features all four professional sports for betting.
Aside from college sports, Mississippi sportsbooks also take action on an array of “other” sports, including:
Unfortunately, Mississippi is not home to any major professional franchises. Fortunately, that does not diminish the ardent fandom permeating the state.
No doubt there are a number of residents with strong attachments to pro teams, certainly with New Orleans located nearby. And Memphis is just over the northern border into Tennessee.
But the king of all sports in Mississippi has long been and will always be college football.
The upside to legal sports betting in Mississippi is that no matter your preference, sportsbooks allow you to put skin in the game with your favorite team, from professional to major college sports:
The legal gambling age in the Magnolia State stands at 21 years old. Naturally, that standard extends to legalized sports betting. In fact, no individual under the age of 21 is allowed on casino floors.
The same age requirement exists for those wanting to take part in pari-mutuel wagering.
The state charged the Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) with regulation and oversight of legalized sports betting.
This group developed draft rules soon after the Supreme Court repealed PASPA and has since helped the industry grow in Mississippi.
When the Mississippi Gaming Control Act was established in 1990, so, too, was the MGC. Initially, oversight of gambling in the state went to the Mississippi State Tax Commission. In 1993, though, the baton was passed to the MGC, which also regulates charitable gambling.
The 1990 passage of the Mississippi Gaming Control Act authorized the opening of riverboat casinos in coastal counties. Following irreparable damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the state amended the law to allow these casinos to move onto the shore but within 800 feet of the water.
In 2014, the House Gaming Committee birthed the Internet Gaming Taskforce, which was tasked with studying online gambling. Of course, sports betting was among the items examined.
By relating to regulated markets in other states while detailing obstacles in Mississippi’s path, the group concluded that “actual revenue generated” from internet gambling was “far behind the revenue projected.” The panel noted “technology issues” faced by Mississippi and added that, in regard to sports betting, “it is still uncertain as to whether a state can overcome the federal ban.”
Of course, that federal prohibition ultimately tumbled. Before that, though, Mississippi instilled hope for regulated sports betting.
In 2017, the state legalized daily fantasy sports courtesy of the Fantasy Contest Act. Of note, the law struck out a clause of the Gaming Control Act of 1972 that prohibited wagering on the outcome of any athletic event. With this amendment, Mississippi opened the door for state-regulated sports betting.
Three months after the fall of PASPA, that industry indeed came to fruition. On Aug. 1, 2018, the state’s first legal wagers were accepted at Beau Rivage and Gold Strike, kicking off a new era in Mississippi gambling.
Yes. Legal sports betting in Mississippi went live Aug. 1, 2018.
Technically, yes. However, Mississippi only permits online wagering while on the premises of a casino licensed to conduct regulated sports betting.
The legal gambling age in Mississippi is 21.
This responsibility rests with the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
Regulated wagering is limited to water- and land-based casinos in the state, including any online sports betting. This includes all 29 properties that are licensed to conduct legalized wagering.
Yes. The Fantasy Contest Act of 2017 allowed for daily fantasy sports to exist in Mississippi. Of note, it also eliminated language prohibiting sports betting, which opened the door for regulated wagering.
Yes. While the state does not feature hometown pro franchises, it does boast a number of major colleges, which sportsbooks can take action on.
The list of in-state colleges and surrounding sports teams includes: