Licensed Mississippi sportsbooks generated $9.8 million in total handle during the state’s first full month of sports betting, Aug. 1-Sept. 3, according to Mississippi Gaming Commission executive director Allen Godfrey.
Following Delaware and New Jersey, the Magnolia State became the third to have properties accept legal wagers since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was struck down in May. PASPA had banned every state but Nevada from allowing full-fledged sports wagering. Delaware’s three sportsbooks took in a $8.2 million total wagers in its first full month (June 25-July 29) while New Jersey’s four sportsbooks (at the time) produced a handle of $40.6 million for its first full month (July 1-31).
Figures on the hold or respective handle at each property was not available Thursday, nor was tax revenue information, but Mississippi taxes its sportsbooks a total of 12 percent — 8 percent state and 4 percent local — which mirrors every other gaming tax in the state.
20 Sportsbooks Are Now Open for MS Sports Betting, As Magnolia State Reports First Month’s Handle
Both Delaware and New Jersey are using cash accounting systems, where futures bets are included in handle, while Mississippi is using an accrual system, like Nevada does, and futures bets are held out of the total.
There are currently 20 commercial casinos with sportsbooks operating in Mississippi. The Choctaw Nation opened its Golden Moon sportsbook in late August, but tribal casinos are not governed by the gaming commission in Mississippi.
By way of comparison, according to 2017 population estimates, New Jersey has a population of about 9 million, Delaware almost 1 million, and Mississippi about 3 million.
Mississippi sportsbooks saw a spike in action during the opening weekend of college football, according to Godfrey. It’s likely they’ll see a similar rush this weekend, with the first full slate of NFL games set for Sunday. Mississippi allows patrons to bet on local teams, so college football action likely will be high on No. 18 Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss, all of which play Saturday. On the pro side, the “local” team is the New Orleans Saints.
Though there are 20 casinos currently operating sportsbooks in the Magnolia State, all 20 were not open for the whole reporting period. The state rolled out its sports betting regulations on July 21. The Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi and the Gold Strike Casino in Tunica took the state’s first sports bets less than two weeks later on Aug. 1.
Sportsbooks then opened across the state throughout August. Mississippi has approximately 30 casinos, mostly in Tunica and on the Gulf Coast stretching from the Louisiana border to Biloxi.
West Virginia became the fourth state to take legal sports bets when the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races opened its sportsbook last Thursday, two days ahead of schedule. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have both legalized sports betting, though sportsbooks are not currently open in either state.