Mississippi Moves Forward with Online Sports Betting Bill
The Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act has passed the GOP-controlled House with a 97-14 vote, putting it one step closer to becoming law. If it successfully passes through the Senate, it will go into effect on July 1, 2024, making Mississippi the 30th state to permit mobile sports betting.
Despite sports wagering being legal in Mississippi since 2018, online betting has been prohibited. However, Representative Casey Eure believes that legalizing online sports betting could bring in substantial tax revenue for the state, estimating up to $35 million annually. Additionally, Eure argues that it could help reduce the prevalence of illegal bets, citing statistics that show a significant amount of money being gambled illegally on sports bets in the US.
The bill proposes that online gaming platforms must partner with a casino in Mississippi before allowing customers to bet online. However, there are concerns that smaller casinos may miss out on the opportunity, as there may be no incentive for platforms to partner with them. Despite efforts by House Democratic Leader Robert Johnson to address this issue by proposing that casinos within a certain radius of placed mobile bets should receive some of the profit, his efforts were defeated by Republicans.
In an amendment to the bill, the House decided that all 12% of the tax on sports bets would be directed to a state emergency fund for repairing roads and bridges, rather than being split between the county and the state.
The success of this bill is crucial for Mississippi, and Representative Eure is actively working to engage with Senate leaders to ensure its passage.
This development has implications for the gambling industry and the potential financial impact for the state, and it will set a precedent for how online sports betting is regulated in Mississippi.