Advancement of Mississippi’s Mobile Sports Betting Bill

Posted on: January 31, 2024, 02:38h.

Last updated on: January 31, 2024, 02:38h.

Legalized online sports betting is close to becoming a reality in Mississippi. The House Gaming Committee green-lighted HB 774, known as the “Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act,” this week. The bill, if passed, would authorize mobile sports betting, a practice currently outlawed due to concerns that it could impact casino revenue.

State Capitol photo

Featured photo of the Mississippi State House in Jackson

While in-person sports wagering has been legal in Mississippi since 2018, online betting is still off-limits for fear that it might hurt casinos’ profits. If passed, HB 774 would enable mobile sports betting but require bettors to use online services from existing casinos. The bill’s primary sponsor is Rep. Casey Eure (R – Saucier), House Gaming Committee chairman.

“The number one goal is to protect our brick-and-mortar buildings,” Eure said. “Every mobile sports wager will be tied to a brick-and-mortar building.”

Eure has been instrumental in advancing sports betting legislation since the Mississippi Mobile Online Sports Betting Task Force meeting last October. He’s pushing for mobile sportsbooks such as DraftKings or FanDuel to partner with a physical casino before offering their online betting services.

The state’s 122-member House Chamber could vote on the measure this week.

Additional Bills in the Mix

Rep. Eure’s bill is one of three sports betting bills introduced in the Mississippi House of Representatives in the past two weeks, but it’s the only one receiving bipartisan support.

Another bill introduced by Rep. Cedric Burnett (D) (HB 271) and Rep. Jay McKnight (R) (HB 625) proposes a tiered tax system based on online sports betting revenue. Meanwhile, Eure’s HB 774 would impose a 12% tax on sports wagers, with 4% going to the local municipality where the sponsoring casino is located and 8% to the state.

Despite these efforts, Mississippi casinos are at odds with lawmakers and are against expanding sports betting.

House Minority Leader Democratic Rep. Robert Johnson III (D-Natchez) is concerned about smaller casinos being crowded out of the market by larger competitors rapidly forming partnerships with sports betting firms.

Revenue Estimates

Eure forecasts that the “Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act” could rake in between $25 million and $35 million in its first year if enacted. He’s optimistic that amending current laws would reduce the influence of illegal offshore sports betting platforms in Mississippi.

“Once you legalize mobile sports betting, you do away with a lot of that illegal market,” Eure said.

Eure’s bill comes as the American Gaming Association reports that mobile sports betting is already legal in 29 states and Washington, DC. If the Mississippi House ratifies the proposal, the bill will move to the Senate, where it will be reviewed by committee and then put to a vote on the Senate floor.

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