Mississippi is the latest state to offer a fully legalised sports betting and it is expected to go live on July 21. The state joins Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada on the ‘legal’ list, with Pennsylvania and West Virginia having recently passed bills to facilitate a similar move.
All betting will have to take place in the state’s casinos, and some betting service providers will need to obtain a licence before they can open their books. Testing and approval of betting kiosks will also be a necessity under Mississippi law. Much to the chagrin of the major sports leagues, however, casinos will not be limited to using official sports league data.
On licensing, the Mississippi Gaming Commission noted: “A person or entity that a casino operator contracts with to assist in the offering of race book or sports pool wagering by providing operational, technical or other associated support shall obtain a manufacturer licence and a distributor licence from the Commission. Applications for such a licence must be made, processed, and determined in the same manner as applications for gaming licences, using such forms as the Commission may require. Employees of such a non-casino entity shall be licensed or permitted consistent with the applicable provisions of the Gaming Control Act and these Regulations.”
Tax at local and state level on sports betting has been set at 12 per cent of each wager minus the payout. And already, estimates are erring on the conservative side in terms of what the state can expect to recoup from sports wagering, with $10m annually being mooted. It’s hoped, though, that sports book activity will generate extra footfall which should benefit parts of the casino business other than betting.
SBC Americas analysis: Mississippi could find itself exceptionally well positioned – at least in the geographical sense – given that there are no neighbouring states currently offering legal sports betting. It’s pretty much out on its own in that part of the US. What will be interesting to see is how the situation pans out with the tribal casinos run by the Choctaw tribe. They already have their own regulations in place.