Casino sports betting is a reality in the state of Mississippi. It is among the small group of states that have legalized sports betting since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law which barred gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states.
In 2017, the Magnolia State repealed the portion of its law prohibiting the activity, and gaming officials said they were ready to move forward with regulations. That became the case in August 2018, making the state one of the very first outside of Nevada to offer single-game wagering.
All Mississippi sports betting takes place at retail sports books because state regulations prevent widespread mobile wagering. Casinos may approve the use of mobile apps while on the property, but no casino has done that yet.
Betting Laws in Mississippi
Almost three million people live in the state of Mississippi. Jackson is the capital and its largest city with a population of more than 160,000 residents.
Mississippi gambling laws — whether it's the slots at Horseshoe Tunica or sports betting at Beau Rivage in Biloxi — are regulated at the state level by the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
All legalized gambling within Mississippi is limited to the following areas:
- Casino gambling
- Tribal gambling
- Pari-mutuel wagering
- Daily fantasy betting
Mississippi permits bingo for charities, but lots of gambling is banned. Also, where gambling is legal, such as the riverboat casinos, minors aren’t allowed any gambling privileges.
The legal gambling age in Mississippi is 21. No one under the age of 21 is allowed in the casino without adult supervision. No one under the age of 21 is allowed on the gaming floor.
The state opened the doors to casinos in the early 1990s. Today, there are 36 casinos and pari-mutuel facilities which are spread out across 12 cities throughout the state. The city with the most is Tunica with nine casinos.
The list of casinos include tribal casinos and the (now docked) riverboat casinos. The Island View Casino Resort is the biggest and it's located at the southern tip of the state in Gulfport. Many of the nicest casino destinations in the state are positioned along the Gulf Coast.
Casinos can take bets on sports at the professional or collegiate level, along with horse racing and greyhound racing. Bets are limited to licensed casinos and must be placed onsite.
Horse racing and lottery
Horse and dog racing are illegal in the state.
For the longest time, Mississippi was one of six states in the U.S. without a lottery. Residents were traveling to neighboring states to play national games like Mega Millions and Power Ball. In August 2018, lawmakers finally passed legislation to see a state lottery operational.
Daily fantasy betting
Mississippi was one of a number of states that explicitly legalized and regulated Daily Fantasy Sports in recent years.
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, this game is growing as 56.8 million players participated in fantasy sports in 2015 in the U.S. That's up from 12.6 million in 2005.
Mississippi Sports Betting Laws
Gambling is limited to water- and land-based casinos in Mississippi, and that restriction extends to sports betting, too, which has been legal in the state since August 2018. The Beau Rivage in Biloxi and the Gold Strike in Tunica in August 2018 became the first two Mississippi casinos to offer sports betting.
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Mississippi became the fourth state in the country to take legal bets on sports, joining Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.
Will Memphis win its college football conference? How about Tennessee? Could Memphis capture its first NBA title? All of these future bets are now available at Mississippi sports books.
There are betting lines on every regular season and postseason game in all the major sports.
According to The Action Network, a website dedicated to sports gambling, a casino in Mississippi will now become the closest venue to place a legal sports bet for 22 of the country’s 50 biggest cities.
“It’s a product no one else in the region has and it’s only a positive when you have a product no one else has,” said Cedric Burnett, a Mississippi state representative from Tunica.
Mississippi has not legalized online gambling, does not license or control online gambling businesses, and does not provides its residents with online gambling websites that are based in Mississippi. It is not illegal to take part in gambling activities on the Internet in the state of Mississippi, which includes top-ranked offshore gaming sites like Bovada.
Favorite Sports Teams in Mississippi
There are no major sports teams in Mississippi. The closest major markets are New Orleans in Louisiana to the south and Nashville in Tennessee to the northeast.
Football wagers — on NFL teams like the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans — took off in September 2018 as expected, helping Mississippi sports betting to a robust second month of revenue.
The first full month of football betting led to nearly $4 million in revenue for Mississippi casinos, according to information from the Mississippi Gaming Commission.