One step closer
The Mississippi House of Representatives has passed a bill that would legalize online sports betting in the state.
Should it make it through the Senate, it will pass into law July 1, 2024
If approved, the legislation would put Mississippi among the 29 other states that already permit mobile sports betting. The Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act passed the GOP-controlled House 97-14. It will now head to the state Senate for consideration. Should it make it through the Senate, it will pass into law July 1, 2024.
Despite sports wagering being legal in Mississippi since 2018, online betting has remained illegal. However, according to the bill’s main sponsor Republican Representative Casey Eure, the state could benefit greatly from online sports betting to the tune of up to $35m a year in tax revenue.
Eure believes it would limit the number of illegal bets too. He stated that, in 2023, $64bn was gambled on illegal sports bets across the US. “Mississippi makes up 5% of that market, which is $3bn,” he explained.
What’s in the bill?
The House proposal requires online gaming platforms such as FanDuel or DraftKings to partner with a casino in the state before permitting customers to bet online. However, while the bill limits casinos to only partnering with one platform, several Mississippi casinos can work with the same platform.
In Mississippi, there are 26 casinos and around 30 sportsbooks, according to Eure.
there will be no incentive for platforms to partner with small casinos
While this will may be a good deal for some, there are concerns that smaller casinos will miss out. House Democratic Leader Robert Johnson said there will be no incentive for platforms to partner with small casinos, meaning the money will go to the state’s already-popular casinos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
He proposed that casinos within 40 miles of placed mobile bets should absorb some of the profit; however, his efforts were defeated by Republicans.
As they passed the bill, the House also amended where the revenue goes.
all 12% would be directed to a state emergency fund
Initially, the 12% tax on sports bets was split, with 4% of revenue to the county where the casino is located and 8% to the state. In the amendment, all 12% would be directed to a state emergency fund for repairing roads and bridges.
With a lot riding on the success of this bill, Eure is actively talking with Senate leaders to get it over the line.
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