- Even with new rivals, the Mississippi sports betting market dominates the southeastern United States.
- With the popularity of Biloxi as a vacation destination, Mississippi sports betting is poised to see continued growth.
- March Madness is approaching and could provide another big month for Biloxi sportsbooks.
BILOXI, Miss. – In 2019, three southeastern states passed legislation legalizing sports betting, but Mississippi remains the top option among the region’s sports bettors.
During that time, Mississippi’s 26 retail sportsbooks handled $369 million in wagers and earned $44.5 million in revenue, with $5.2 million of that going to state and city taxes. Casinos in Biloxi and around the state benefitted from being a hotspot for Southeastern Conference (SEC) fans to bet on college sports.
Arkansas, which borders Mississippi to the west, is set to have four sportsbooks in operation by the end of 2020. With time and savvy marketing, Arkansas could potentially challenge Mississippi’s stranglehold and capture a portion of the SEC market, but that possibility is remote.
Of the 14 college sports programs in the SEC, ten are closer to sportsbooks in Mississippi than those in Arkansas. Additionally, Mississippi already houses the country’s third-largest casino market in Biloxi, which draws 16 million visitors annually.
Arkansas does not release monthly sports betting financial reports as Mississippi does, but local reports indicate that the local sports gambling industry has struggled to get off the ground.
Mississippi’s sports betting operators handled a record $56.4 million in bets during the month of November and could be poised for another big month in March during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
March Madness Betting In Mississippi
In 2019, Mississippi’s fledgling sports betting industry handled $32.4 million during the month of March.
November 2019 and December 2019 saw a combined 22% year-over-year handle increase from 2018. If March sees a similar increase, Mississippi could handle nearly $40 million in wagers for the month alone.
The 2019-2020 basketball season has been unusually successful for the SEC, and the conference could potentially earn as many as five or six NCAA Tournament bids. There are eight SEC teams that have a realistic chance at making the 68-team March Madness field:
- Auburn – 100% chance to make the tournament per Gracenote Global Sports Data
- Kentucky – 99%
- LSU – 99%
- Florida – 94%
- Alabama – 77%
- Arkansas – 53%
- Tennessee – 51%
- Mississippi State – 41%
The SEC saw similar success in 2019, earning seven bids, winning 12 combined tournament games and sending one team (Auburn) to the Final Four. If the conference can come close to replicating that success in 2020, expect Mississippi casinos to reap the rewards.
With a dual background in English and sports performance and business analytics, Carter aims to write stories that both engage and inform the reader. He prides himself on his ability to interweave empirical data and traditional narrative storytelling. When he isn’t keeping readers up to date on the latest sports betting legal news, he’s banging his head against a wall regretting his decision to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan.