Mississippi Mobile Sports Betting Bill Advances

Posted on: January 31, 2024, 02:38h. 

Last updated on: February 3, 2024, 12:44h.

Legalized online sports betting is a step closer in Mississippi. On Tuesday, the House Gaming Committee approved HB 774, the “Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act.”

The Mississippi State House, in Jackson
The Mississippi State House, in Jackson, above. Republican State Senator Casey Eure has introduced a new bill to legalize online sports betting in the Magnolia State. (Image: Visit Jackson)

In-person sports wagering has been legal in the Magnolia State since 2018. But online betting remains outlawed over worries mobile bets could erode casino profits.

HB 774 would legalize mobile sports betting, but require bettors to use online services from existing casinos. Rep. Casey Eure (R – Saucier), House Gaming Committee chairman, is the bill’s primary sponsor.

The number one goal is to protect our brick-and-mortar buildings,” Eure said. “Every mobile sports wager will be tied to a brick-and-mortar building.”

Eure has been a key figure in moving sports betting regulations forward since the Mississippi Mobile Online Sports Betting Task Force meeting last October. There are 26 casinos in Mississippi, according to the task force.

The current House proposal would require online sportsbooks like DraftKings or FanDuel to partner with a physical casino before customers can participate in mobile betting.

The 122-member House Chamber could vote on the measure this week.

Other Bills in Mobile Sports Arena

Eure’s is the third sports betting bill introduced in the Mississippi House of Representatives in the last two weeks. But it is the only one that’s garnered bipartisan support.

Last week, Rep. Cedric Burnett  (D) introduced HB 271, while Rep. Jay McKnight (R) filed HB 625. The two identical bills create a tiered tax system based on online sports betting revenue. Under their proposed system, revenue up to $50K would be taxed at 4%, revenue up to $134K would be taxed at 6%, and revenue of more than $134K would be taxed at 8%.

Eure’s HB 774 would place a 12% tax on sports wagers, with 4% going toward the local municipality where the sponsoring casino is located and 8% going to the state.

As reported in Casino.org, Mississippi casinos remain at odds with lawmakers and oppose an expansion of sports betting.

House Minority Leader Democratic Rep. Robert Johnson III (D-Natchez) is concerned about smaller casinos being choked out of the market, with larger casinos more quickly partnering with sports betting outfits.

How Much and How Soon

Eure estimates the “Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act” could generate between $25 million and $35 million in revenue during the first year if enacted. He believes changing the current laws would undercut the influence of illegal offshore sports betting platforms in Mississippi.

Once you legalize mobile sports betting, you do away with a lot of that illegal market,” Eure said.

In presenting his bill, Eure noted that illegal betting sites see about $64 billion in wagers yearly. Mississippi makes up 5% of that market, about $3 billion in illegal bets.

The American Gaming Association says mobile sports betting is legal in 29 states and Washington, D.C.

If the Mississippi House passes Eure’s proposal, the bill will move to the Senate. Consideration in the Senate includes a committee and a full vote on the Senate floor. If there are any amendments to the bill in any way, it would go back to the House for approval.