Mississippi House Approves Mobile Sports Betting Bill

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The Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Rory Doyle / AFP).

Southern states have recently been warming to mobile sports betting with Alabama, Georgia, and now Mississippi inching closer to making it available to their citizens.

Last week, the Mississippi House passed HB 774, advancing the bill to the state Senate.

Explore the recent developments and envision the potential future for online sportsbooks in the Magnolia State.

House Rules

Mississippi is the latest southern state to consider mobile sports betting and the additional revenue stream it provides.

Although the 97-14 vote in favor of Representative Casey Eure’s HB 774 digital sports wagering bill is still far from the finish line, it has cleared an important hurdle with the state Senate as its next obstacle.

On the same day, the Mississippi House said aye to sports betting, and so did the Georgia Senate by a vote of 35-15 in favor of SB 386.

The coincidental timing did not escape Representative Eure’s attention.

“I think we’ve done a very good job with this bill. Today, Georgia’s Senate passed sports betting out. As we all know, in the next couple weeks Alabama is coming with a full gaming package,” said Eure. “All I’m trying to do is give another product to our casino industry in our state to be competitive, and I feel like that’s what we’re doing. So, as you look at surrounding states and what happened today in Georgia, just keep that in mind that we keep Mississippi moving forward.”

Retail sports betting has been active since being legalized in 2018 and only online wagering is permitted while a person is on the casino property. The moment the bettor steps outside the boundaries, a geolocator will prohibit any digital betting with that casino’s sportsbook.

Big Bucks in Sports Betting

A familiar refrain we have heard from legislators trying to pass sports betting is that, first, it is already happening at offshore sites or with local bookies without the state garnering any of the tax benefits, and, secondly, neighboring states are taking tax dollars from its citizens that cross state lines to place a bet.

“If you go to a state that has legal mobile sports betting, it reverses,” Eure said. “So as you can see once you legalize mobile sports betting you do away with a lot of the illegal market.”

It is estimated that $3 billion from Mississippi is wagered at offshore sites and this estimate is bolstered by the 9.3 million geospatial checks that record visits to those sites.

“So, as you can see, a lot of Mississippians are wanting to place mobile sports wagers,” Eure added.

Considering neighboring Louisiana generates $40.4 million per year in sports betting taxes and Tennessee averages $83.6 million annually, Representative Eure believes that $25-$35 million in taxes is feasible in Mississippi while it could be as much as $50 million per annum.

Highlights of HB 774 include the following:

  • Requires participants to be at least 21 years old.
  • Allows 26 Mississippi casinos each to partner with one online sports betting company.
  • Online sports betting companies can partner with multiple casinos.
  • The Mississippi Gaming Commission would regulate online sports betting.
  • Taxes online sports betting revenue at 12%.
  • All revenue would be directed to the Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund.

Bookmakers Review will continue to monitor this story and update our readers as events unfold.