- Three bills that would have made mobile sports betting in Mississippi legal have died out in committee.
- Mississippi has seen a surge in their revenue from their retail sports gaming industry in 2020 making the need for additional ways to wager seem superfluous to lawmakers at this time.
- Senator Scott DeLano Thinks 2022 will be the year for legal mobile sportsbooks.
JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi sports betting hope of legalizing the activity online and through mobile platforms have been dashed for 2021.
The Mississippi Legislature might as well have caused a blackout for the age of technology as they pulled the plug on all legislation geared toward sports gaming on the internet and by cellphone statewide in early February.
The Hospitality State wants to remain hospitable in the industry through retail sportsbooks only, as those were legalized in 2018. Since then, a revolving door of bills has been seen to legalize mobile sportsbooks in MS but all have failed to pass.
Why Is Mississippi Against Mobile Sports Betting Legislation?
Three mobile sports wagering bills were proposed to the legislature and all three died on February 2 from the lack of backing by lawmakers. Senate Bill 2396 would have given each operating casino a mobile sports betting license. This could have been used across the state in terms of the platform’s accessibility.
At the moment, the gaming laws of Mississippi stipulate that casinos can launch mobile sportsbook platforms but players can only access these applications while on the grounds of the establishment. To date, no casino in MS has ever gone ahead and unveiled a mobile platform because of that restriction.
The other two bills, Senate Bill 2732 and House Bill 1042, a set of companion bills, was looking to get internet sports betting operations added to the law as a standalone option. This would mean operators could open their platforms throughout the state without being tethered to a brick-and-mortar facility.
The legal sports betting industry of Mississippi has seen steady growth in its revenue since its launch in 2018. Overall, they have seen $103 million in revenue but over $43 million of that was made in 2020 alone.
With the uptick in activity and profit, those that make the laws do not feel the need to add to the market with the inclusion of an online aspect because of the way things are going, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Plus, there is still so much unknown to adding the new market that needs to be addressed.
LegalSportsBetting spoke with Senator Scott Delano, sponsor to Senate Bill 2396 who said there just wasn’t enough time to get the figures needed as sports betting is a semi-new industry nationwide but he is adamant about getting this market legalized as he has been a familiar face for legalizing sports gambling in Mississippi.
“First there was Daily Fantasy Sports, (DFS) which I spearheaded, then sports betting, now mobile sportsbooks are the next thing and we’re certainly moving towards that but I’ve been the one that has brought DFS to Mississippi which has evolved into sports betting so I have always stayed up with legislation for anything else regarding gambling on sports,” said Delano.
There wasn’t much pushback to be had despite his proposal dying but the Coronavirus Pandemic put everything out of sorts this session so there wasn’t enough time to talk it out thoroughly. Operators were concerned about the implementation of the industry and how it would affect their brick-and-mortar businesses according to DeLano.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) would be the regulatory body for mobile sportsbooks in the future as they run all of the gaming in the state.
For retail sportsbooks, they had a set plan of rules and regulation ahead of the legislation being passed which is the hope of DeLano for 2022. The MGC can use 2021 to gather more research on key factors for successful mobile sportsbooks of other states and use them to structure one for the Mississippi market.
The Future Of Mississippi Sports Betting
It’s true that the Hospitality State has seen quite an upswing in their sports betting market. But advocates in the state can’t help but say that money is being left on the table without a mobile and online sports wagering market.
While many people venture to the sports betting establishments of Mississippi to gamble on sporting events, there are plenty of others that access outside mobile platforms for the convenience of betting from wherever they are.
Mississippi’s legal sports betting market could fare much better with the addition of mobile outlets for gamblers in the state to use at their leisure. After all, betting on sports is known as a leisure activity.
Neighboring states like Tennessee offer these applications and MS residents only need to drive across state lines to access these applications should they not find others online to use.
Although 2021 was not the year for these bills to pass, 2022 could be a different story as the Coronavirus Pandemic may show the Magnolia State how popular and crucial online gambling is for the industry to capitalize on revenue when they compare the numbers of their neighbors at the end of the year.
And DeLano is also hopeful for a favorable outcome in 2022. The Mississippi Legislature will adjourn on April 4, but it’s already known that the plug has been pulled on any hope of mobile sportsbooks in Mississippi for 2021.
“We want to make sure that the entertainment experience for our visitors is at the highest of levels and we weren’t able to get this year but I foresee it coming here in the next year or two,” said DeLano. “I really think 2022 is the year to get mobile sportsbooks legalized in Mississippi, using 2021 to introduce more people to the industry.”
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.