Lawmakers to Look at Mobile Online Sports Betting in Mississippi — Again

Posted on: December 18, 2023, 03:56h. 

Last updated on: December 19, 2023, 11:22h.

Expectations are high that online sports betting will get a close examination in Mississippi in the new year. Experts warn that this game has already been played and lost many times in the Magnolia State.

The Mississippi Capitol building in Jackson
The Mississippi Capitol building in Jackson. Lawmakers in Mississippi are expected to reconsider legislation in 2024 legalizing online sports betting in the state. (Image: Visit Jackson)

Republican Casey Eure, chair of the House Gaming Committee, says he plans to pass a bill legalizing mobile sports betting during the 2024 session.

Rep. Eure (R-Saucier) made his plans known during the final 2023 meeting of the legislature’s Mobile Online Sports Betting Task Force. But plenty of unanswered questions remain about what legalizing this form of gambling would look like in Mississippi.

Jay McDaniel, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, says bills have been introduced yearly since 2018. Still, none of the proposals have made it out of committee to an actual floor debate.

Your guess is as good as mine as to whether we’ll get to that,” McDaniel Said. “So, I think you can expect in January to see a bill. The question will be whether that bill actually comes out of a committee for debate to be passed.”

Democratic Senator David Blount, who is also a task force member, says whatever form the bill takes, it should protect the state’s already highly successful gaming industry.

“My primary interest, as it relates to gaming in Mississippi, is to protect the jobs of tens of thousands of Mississippians who work in this important business that has a big economic impact,” Blount said. “How will that be affected by betting on cell phones?”

The Mississippi Legislature’s 2024 regular session will convene at noon on January 2. The deadline for the introduction of general bills is February 19.

Regulations and Opposition Take Shape

Mississippi was one of the first states in the U.S. to authorize sports betting in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in May of 2018 to legalize gambling. As reported previously by, not everyone on the state’s 13-member task force is sold on expanding Mississippi’s gaming industry to include internet sportsbooks.

Some lawmakers are concerned mobile sports wagering will jeopardize destination gaming. The Mississippi Gaming Commission reported more than $272 million in tax revenue in FY 2023.

Mississippi casinos also remain at odds with lawmakers over online sports betting efforts. Land-based casinos are the state’s most vocal opponents of online sports betting.

Pearl River Resort Race and Sportsbook Director Chris Hopwood is just one casino executive who has urged lawmakers to oppose an expansion of sports betting. Hopwood said such a move would harm brick-and-mortar casinos, and revenue would leave the state.

Supporters Make Their Case

Twenty-six casinos in the state, some of them operated by Penn Entertainment and Caesars, have spoken in favor of online sports betting. They say bettors are leaving for neighboring states such as Arkansas, Tennessee, and Louisiana, where online betting is legal.

Rep. Eure said his goal is to “protect bricks and mortar.”

The Mobile Online Sports Betting Task Force findings were due to be delivered to the state legislature by December 15.