Online sports betting bills have been introduced in Mississippi, the first in likely many this session to expand gambling in the state.
Rep. Cedric Burnette introduced HB 271 to the House of Representatives last week. The bill aims to legalize online sports betting for gaming license holders. Another online sports betting bill was filed this week by Rep. Jay McKnight, HB 635.
Although retail casinos have been legal in Mississippi since 2018, players can only use one online sports betting option allowed in the state to place online bets. And they can only do so in person at gaming venues and properties of licensed casinos.
As the state works toward online sports betting passage, the current gambling options in the state have a chance of expanding.
What are some of the stipulations in the bills?
Mississippi is home to 28 commercial casinos. As the new HB 271 suggests, each gaming venue would be eligible to offer online gambling throughout the state.
The bill includes a tier-up tax rate model based on monthly gross sports betting revenue licensed holders make. Here are the suggested rates:
- 4% of all the gross revenue that does not exceed $50,000 per month
- 6% of gross revenue that tops $50,000 but does not go above $134,000 per month
- 8% of gross revenue that exceeds $134,000 per month
If approved, the bill will go into effect on July 1, 2024.
HB 635 carries the same tiered tax model.
An online sports betting task force offered its recommendations in December
Gov. Tate Reeves signed HB 606 into law in March 2023, creating a team of 13 state legislators coming from:
- Mississippi Department of Revenue
- Gamingand Hospitality Association
- MS Senate Gaming Committee
- House Gaming Committee
Mississippi held a Mobile Online Sports Betting Task Force in the fall to issue a report with recommendations for the legalization. That report could have a significant impact on how online sports betting expands.
In December, the Mississippi task force presented several models on how the state could tax expanded online sports betting. It also offered projections for utilizing tax revenue.
Should Mississippi amend its law, it would allow legal online sports betting and not just in-person betting. Legalizing Mississippi’s online sportsbooks would also bring in a lot more revenue for the state.
Mississippi House converted HB 606 to study proposal
Rep. Casey Eure, the chair of the Mississippi House’s gaming committee introduced HB 606 last year to legalize online sports betting. However, it was turned into a study bill that led to the task force.
The bill intended to allow all 28 Mississippi casinos to partner with one corresponding online sportsbook.
While similar in many ways to previously presented bills, HB 606 proposed one significant change – geofencing requirements. Instead of physically requiring players to be on casino premises, it suggested eligible bettors could gamble from anywhere in the state as long as they are registered with a legal sports betting app. Players would also have to renew their registration every 12 months.
There is a big possibility Eure will introduce a new bill this session.
BetMGM remains the only Mississippi online sports betting option
Mississippi currently offers only one legal online sports betting option, BetMGM.
To create their BetMGM sports betting account, players must be within an MGM Casino premise or at the partnered property. Among the available options are:
- Biloxi’s Treasure Bay Casino and Hotel
- Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica
- Pearl River Resort sites
New legislative sessions in 2024 could bring further attempts regarding the potential expansion of legal online sports betting in the state. But, in the meantime, BetMGM remains the only legal Mississippi online sportsbook app.