Mississippi Gaming Commission Approves Final Regulations for Sports Betting

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Sports betting will soon become a reality in Mississippi casinos as the state gaming commission approved final regulations this week. The decision by the commission takes place a little more than a month after the Supreme Court struck down a law that barred sports betting in most of the states in the US.

Legislators legalized sports betting in Mississippi in 2017 as part of a bill involving fantasy sports, anticipating a favorable ruling for the activity by SCOTUS. Once the Supreme Court made the decision, the commission was able to begin the process of creating regulations. Yesterday, the commission approved rules for sports betting without discussion. The guidelines will take effect 30 days after approval. Sports wagers may begin as soon as July, once operators are ready to offer services.

What to Expect

Allen Godfrey, the commission executive director, has said that casinos in the state are licensed to allow sports betting. Some casinos will need to have equipment approved by the commission before they can offer services, such as the kiosks that will provide wagering. Bets will be taken on professional and college sports, as well as greyhound and horse racing. Betting on Olympic events will also be allowed.

Sports betting will be limited to licensed casinos and will have to be done on-site. Online wagering will be offered but will have restrictions. For a player to wager online, a special account will need to be opened and the player will have to remain on-site at the gaming venue or the casino’s hotel to wager. This may change in the future because proponents of sports wagering want to see mobile wagering offered across the state.

Casinos will have to hold 25% of winnings from sports bets when they exceed $5,000 (£3,768) and are at least 300 times the wager for federal income tax. Sportsbooks will be required to obtain detailed information on individuals who wager or win over $10,000 (£7537).

Professional League Input

Several professional sports leagues asked the commission to limit casinos to the type of data they would be using for sports wagers. The PGA Tour, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball all requested that the gaming venues use official data provided by the leagues. This request was denied.

The leagues also hoped to have the commission ban certain types of wagers. Andy Levinson, PGA Tour senior vice president of tournament administration, said: “Certain types of bets are inherently riskier than others.” Levinson also said that the new regulations “put sports fans, sports bettors, athletes, and professional sport themselves at risk”.

Sports betting is expected to contribute less than $10m (£7.5m) a year to the state. Casinos expect the new wagering option to give them an edge against their competitors, bringing in more customers who will spend money on other services in addition to betting.

Sports betting will also be offered in Mississippi through its tribal gaming operators. According to Vegasslotsonline.com, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians amended their gambling regulations just a few days ago to be able to provide sports betting in their casinos. A recent council meeting resulted in amendments being approved to the Choctaw Gaming Commission regulations, paving the way for sports betting to begin in tribal venues.