Given Mississippi’s low population, it’s no surprise they have a very focused, and thus minuscule, sports base. After the Ole Miss college football team they have a couple college basketball squads of interest, and nothing more. This dearth of exposure—again, college and even high school football is a big deal, but they don’t capture the entire experience and accompanying views of professional sports—has incited some fairly strict policies in the non-casino gambling world.
Mississippi Sports Betting Law
Sports betting in Mississippi is illegal on-site. That’s not a big deal. Most other states, despite attempts in some places to the contrary, assume the same position. It’s nearly everywhere else where Mississippi deviates from the norm, entering a realm of rule punctuated more so by restrictive policies than anything else.
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Casinos on Casinos on Casinos
Right now, there are about 30 state-sanctioned corporate casinos in Mississippi. Unlike other states that have their gambling capitals plotted all over, Mississippi focuses its casino scene to roughly two areas—along the Gulf Coast and Mississippi River.
In addition to these lumped-together establishments, the state is home to three tribal casinos, and it has plans to open a fourth. You can’t quite say Mississippi is Atlantic City (when it was in its prime), let alone Las Vegas. But there is a strip-like atmosphere that allows residents and visitors to enjoy vacation-esque weekends at the casinos and their accompanying hotels.
No Horse or Dog Races
Both dog and horse racing are illegal in Mississippi. There are no race tracks—at least not for these events. Professional car racing is fine. Attending animal-centric contests, however, is not. The state doesn’t need the revenue they’d generate, because they have nearly three dozen casinos on which they’re able to capitalize.
Charitable and Social Gambling Outlawed
Correct: Mississippi allows neither charitable nor social gambling in an official capacity. This doesn’t mean the police will roll up to your occasional household poker game, but it does eliminate things like casino nights, raffles, bingo, etc.
These activities still take place. The state, after all, isn’t going to monitor 50-50 raffles at smaller-scale events. Then again, the population in Mississippi is so small it doesn’t matter. This law is the state’s tool. People can break it, but most will follow it, electing to limit their gambling to any one of the many casinos the government profits off of.
Daily Fantasy Sports Are LEGAL
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Mississippi is among the 14 states who have legalized daily fantasy sports. Their official stance rests on this being more a game of skill than chance, but also, they wouldn’t miss the opportunity to grab fees from companies such as Draft Kings and FanDuel.
Plus, daily fantasy sports are dominated by football. Collegiate contests are no longer allowed, but the sport itself is huge in Mississippi. It makes sense that the state would legalize something so closely tied to the NFL, and thus its most highly regarded, precious game.
Mississippi Gambling Law Overview
Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren’t allowed in Mississippi at this time.
- Casino Gambling: Legal
- Tribal Gambling: Legal
- Poker: Legal
- Horse-Race Betting: Not legal
- Dog-Race Betting: Not legal
- Lottery: Legal
- Daily Fantasy Betting: Legal
- Social Gambling: Not legal
- Charitable Gambling: Not legal
- Online Gambling: Not specified
Mississippi Sports Teams
Due to the absence of professional teams in Mississippi, we will split our focus between in-house squads and the most popular professional factions that are located outside state lines.
Ole Miss Rebels (College Football)
The Rebels’ football program is by far Mississippi’s most popular team. Like, it’s not even kind of close. They have been around for 112 seasons, during which time they’ve collected 34 Bowl-game appearances, 24 Bowl-game victories and 25 top-25 finishes in the AP’s year-end ranking.
Most recently, Ole Miss enjoyed four straight Bowl appearances through 2012 and 2015, including cameos in the Peach Bowl in 2014 (lost) and Sugar Bowl in 2015 (won). Though they failed to qualify for a Bowl championship for the first time under head coach Hugh Freeze in 2016, a more seasoned group of kids, plus an influx of quality recruits, has their outlook on the up and up.
Mississippi State Bulldogs (College Football)
The Mississippi State Bulldogs are also incredibly popular throughout this state. They don’t come close to touching Ole Miss’ mystique—they have just 20 Bowl appearances and 13 finishes inside the AP’s year-end top-25 standings—but they’ve been around for longer, dating back 113 years.
In the eight years since head coach Dan Mullen took control, the Bulldogs have been to seven Bowl games, totaling five victories. They aren’t major Bowl games, though. The team is perennially trying to keep its head above .500. With the exception of a combined 19-7 record between 2014 and 2015, they’ve lacked powerhouse-level consistency in the SEC.
New Orleans Saints (NFL)
Think it matters that the New Orleans Saints technically play outside the state, in Louisiana rather than Mississippi?
Well, think again.
Think it matters that the Saints have earned only a single playoff bid since 2012?
Think yet again.
People from Mississippi flock to each of the Saints’ home games, some of them traveling hours to to take in the experience. The modern-day Saints are a specific draw thanks to their high-octane offense. They haven’t tallied more than seven victories in each of the last three seasons, but quarterback Drew Brees’ cannon of an arm—which, admittedly, has spent the past few years capitalizing on a lot of garbage-time touchdowns—keeps people engaged and coming back for more…including those in Mississippi.
Mississippi’s Biggest Sporting Event of the Year
Truth told, Mississippi doesn’t have an annual sporting event of real significance. And so, we land on the Sugar Bowl, a college football championship sparring that takes place every year in Louisiana at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game is, in three words, a huge deal. It’s one of the six Bowl games currently rotating in and out of the BCS College National Championship playoff, and high-profile programs take pleasure in winning it even when it’s not part of the postseason block.
So just as you can bet people from Mississippi show up in droves to Saints games, you better believe that Louisiana becomes an extension of Mississippi whenever the Sugar Bowl is being played.