Last updated: June 1, 2020
Status: All forms of sports betting are currently legal in Mississippi.
ETA: Full sports betting was made legal in Mississippi in August 2018.
Mississippi sports betting became a possibility in 2017 and, following the fall of PASPA, a reality in 2018. For a state that’s long taken a liberal attitude towards gambling, this is hardly surprising. However, the way in which Mississippi sportsbooks finally found a way to go live is slightly out of the norm.
In 2017, once arguments over the legality of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) had subsided in other parts of the US, Mississippi embraced the trend. Seeing its popularity, the Magnolia State drafted its own regulations. Known as the Fantasy Contest Act, the bill became law in 2017 and did two important things.
Firstly, it implemented a legal framework through which DFS operators could offer services to Mississippi residents. Secondly, it modified the Gambling Control Act of 1972. Under the terms of the 1972 Act, wagering on athletic events was prohibited:
“No wagering shall be allowed on the outcome of any athletic event, nor on any matter to be determined during an athletic event, which does not take place on the premises,” reads the 1972 law.
However, within the language of the Fantasy Contest Act, the above restriction was lifted. Even though the words “sports betting” weren’t specifically mentioned, it essentially removed the clause from Mississippi’s Gambling Control Act.
With the door nudged open, all local sports fans had to do was wait for a federal force to kick it off its hinges. That force turned out to be the Supreme Court. Ruling that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional, the federal body gave states the power to enact their own sports betting laws.
Almost as soon as the decision was made, the Mississippi Gaming Commission pushed through draft regulations. A 30-day review period followed and, thanks to the 2017 legal amendments, there was nothing to stop Mississippi’s sports betting law going live. MGM quickly became the first operator to accept legal bets on August 1, 2018, inside its Beau Rivage and Gold Strike properties.
As a state, Mississippi has always had close links to betting and gaming. Although online activity has yet to receive the same sort of love, live venues have been active across the state for decades. To give you an insight into the conditions that made Mississippi sports betting a reality, here’s a quick look at the Magnolia States’ gambling history:
1795– With card games already popular, the Fleetfield Race Track in Natchez was completed in 1795.
1871 Onwards– By the time Mississippi became a state in 1871, it already had a rich gambling history. This continued throughout the 19th century with horse racing, casino games and slots becoming popular.
1950s– Gambling fell out of favor with residents and the Mississippi Law Code of 1942 was enforced more rigorously. This drove gambling into backrooms but not out of the state.
1988– The National Indian Gaming Act is passed, giving tribes in Mississippi the ability to operate legal casinos. By 1994, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians opened the Silver Star Casino.
1990– Sensing a change, state lawmakers passed the Mississippi Gaming Control Act in 1990. This legalized gambling in certain areas as voted for by local residents. This eventually gave rise to the state’s now-famous riverboat casinos.
2017– Continuing the tradition of regulated gambling, Mississippi passed a DFS law in 2017. This law also removed sports betting provisions from the 1972 Gambling Control Act.
2018– The Mississippi sports betting bill was passed, making it one of the first states to regulate the industry in the post-PASPA era.
Yes. Thanks to a 2017 legal amendment and subsequent regulations in 2018, you can now legally bet on sports in Mississippi.
Like all forms of betting and gaming within the state, the Mississippi Gaming Commission oversees sportsbook activity within the region.
To bet on sports in Mississippi, you must be 21 or older.
In 2014, the House Gaming Committee set up the Internet Gaming Taskforce. This body was designed to review the viability of online betting and gaming. Its initial conclusion was that current operations (such as those in New Jersey) weren’t performing to expectations and, therefore, it wasn’t worth pursuing.
In February 2019, a bill to legalize mobile sports betting in Mississippi fell by the wayside. At this stage, sportsbooks are only permitted inside land-based or water-based casinos. Although patrons can bet via online devices, they must be connected to and only accessible within licensed properties.
Because online sports betting isn’t legal (yet), all Mississippi bookmakers are located inside live casinos. At present, you’ll be able to place bets in 30 different casinos, including:
There are approximately 31 license holders in Mississippi. These include virtually every casino in the state. Some of the biggest names are listed above.
No. Despite a mobile sports betting bill passing through the political system in early 2019, recent attempts have fallen short.
Mississippi sports betting revenue averaged just over $1.5 million per month in 2018. The total amount wagered on a monthly basis was typically north of $40 million.
Mississippi’s sports betting tax rate is 12%. Broken down, 8% goes to the state and 4% goes to local municipalities.
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