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Online sports betting bills filed in Mississippi

| By kylegoldsmith
A fresh bid to legalise online sports betting in Mississippi has been launched, with two new bills introduced this week.
Mississippi sports betting

Sports betting was legalised in Mississippi in 2018, following the repeal of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). However, the only online sports betting currently available is through geofenced sportsbooks on land-based casino properties.

Bill HB271, filed by Rep Cedric Burnett, and Bill HB635, introduced by Rep Jay McKnight, are both bidding to change that, allowing bettors to wager on sports through their mobile devices in the state regardless of whether they are in a casino.

This latest attempt to introduce online sports betting in the state is the sixth, with House Bill 606 signed into law last year. The bill authorised a Mississippi sports betting task force to “undertake a comprehensive analysis” of sports betting in the state.

The bill was initially far more expansive, aiming to allow all of the state’s land-based casinos to partner with an online sportsbook. However, its reach was significantly cut down in committee.

Of the four states bordering Mississippi, Alabama is the only one to have also not yet legalised online sports betting. Tennessee launched online sports betting in 2020, while Arkansas and Louisiana both legalised it in 2022.

Mississippi’s shrinking sports betting market

The introduction of online wagering would be a welcome boost to Mississippi’s sports betting market, which endured a disappointing end to 2023.

Mississippi’s December handle amounted to $48.9m (£38.6m/€44.9m), down 34.3% from $74.4m in in December of 2022. This was also 21.6% lower than the $62.4m spent in November 2023.

Revenue, meanwhile, reached $4.9m, 56.6% lower than in December 2022. However, that revenue total was 58.1% ahead of the previous month’s haul. Win percentage for the month was 10%.

Coastal casinos remain the venue of choice for players in Mississippi, processing $31.6m in bets and accumulating $2.4m in revenue. American football was the leading sport, with $14.5m of wagers placed on it, while basketball was second with $7.7m.

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