Sports Betting to Be Delayed in Mississippi

Allen Godfrey

Sports betting will not be launching any time soon in Mississippi, despite being a legalized activity.  

Residents and visitors to Mississippi will have to wait a little bit longer before being able to take part in sports betting in the state. Over the weekend, it was reported that gambling operators can now offer sports betting, thanks to regulators authorizing the industry one month after the option was legalized back in June. However, operators were not done with prepping for wagering, so bettors cannot place wagers just yet.

Setting up Sportsbooks

Allen GodfreyOperators are still working on sports bar and sportsbook construction as well as meeting other requirements set by the state to be able to offer the games. Allen Godfrey, of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, has estimated that it will take a few more weeks before sports betting will be fully operational within the casinos of the state. According to Godfrey, the operators who want to start offering sports betting are still working on renovations.

The state Gaming Commission approved the final regulations on June 21st for the new sports betting industry, allowing each of the 28 land-based gaming venues to offer the wagering option. The law called for a 30-day time frame in which bets could begin. The July 21st date has now come and gone, with operators unable to be ready to offer services by the opening date.

So far, 13 of the 28 venues have applied for a sports wagering license. This includes riverboat casinos. The remaining casinos are expected to ask for permission to offer sports betting as well. The first gaming venues to apply for licensing include the Palace Casino, Beau Rivage, Harrah’s Gulf Coast, Boomtown Biloxi and Hollywood Casino.

Mobile Online Gaming

Mississippi has approved land-based sports betting as well as online mobile wagering within their new legislation. The Gaming Commission has reported that not a single operator has applied to offer mobile sports betting. With the online wagering legalities, operators can only offer mobile wagering within their facility only. It may be this stipulation that has caused operators to delay in requesting for permission to offer mobile gaming. While players would probably log online to place wagers while visiting, it would not be as lucrative as full-on online wagering allowed throughout the state would be.

Mississippi will be the third state in the US to offer sports betting once they finally launch services. Delaware was the first to legalize and offer the gaming option, followed by New Jersey. The option to offer sports betting first became available back in May when the United States Supreme Court ruled to strike down the Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act, deeming the federal ban unconstitutional.

Since that ruling in mid-May, state after state have begun to create or discuss legislation involving sports betting. By the end of the year, it is expected that even more states will be involved in the industry and next year, it would not be surprising to see states continue to push for legalization and pass bills into law to begin offering the wagering option.

The hope of many is that as sports betting creates a huge increase in overall gaming across the United States, online gaming will move back into the forefront. Many proponents feel that sports betting being so readily accepted state after state will see online gaming legislation begin to pop up again and the industry will begin growing once again. It will be interesting to watch over the coming weeks if this were to come to fruition.