SportsHandle.com is your place for everything to know about legal Mississippi sports betting. On Aug. 1, 2018, the Beau Rivage Casino and Resort and Gold Strike Casino Resort took the state’s first sports bets and by the end of the month, 20 of the state’s commercial casinos were offering sports betting.
In addition, two tribal casinos owned by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians opened sportsbooks. The Sportsbook at Timeout Lounge at the Golden Moon Hotel and Casino and the sportsbook at Bok Homa Casino, both at the Pearl River Casino Resort, are accepting sports bets. Tribal casinos do not fall under the umbrella of the state’s gaming board.
Below is a primer on the Mississippi sports betting scene as well as the Supreme Court sports betting case that ushered in this new era.
Mississippi Sports Betting Overview
In June 2018, the Mississippi Gaming Commission’s website rolled out their regulations, covering everything from definitions of sports betting terms to how to pay out wagers. The 22-page document makes no allowance for an “integrity fee” or royalty to be paid out the professional sports leagues. By the end of the summer, 20 commercial and two tribal sportsbooks had opened for sports betting.
“The tax rate on [on sports betting revenues] will be 12 percent — 8 percent going to the state, 4 percent local tax, which is the same as every other gaming tax in Mississippi,” Allen Godfrey, Executive Director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, told Sports Handle.
For the time being, sports betting will be allowed only on premises at the casinos, some of which may offer apps, which will only be accessible on premises as well.
Most sportsbooks offer wagering on a full menu of professional and collegiate athletic events, including on Ole Miss and Mississippi State games. This is notable because New Jersey’s regulations will not currently allow wagering on collegiate events in-state.
Mississippi Sports Betting Locations
Land Based Casinos Open for Sports Betting (as of Nov. 20, 2018)
Ameristar Casino Hotel
4146 Washington Street, Vicksburg, Miss.
Island View Casino Resort
3300 W. Beach Blvd., Gulfport, Miss.
Riverwalk Casino and Hotel
1046 Warrenton Road, Vicksburg, Miss.
Scarlett Pearl Casino Resort
9380 Central Ave., D Iberville, Miss.
WaterView Casino and Hotel
3990 Washington Street, Vicksburg, Miss.
Bok Homa Casino
1 Choctaw Road, Heidelberg, Miss.
Silver Star Casino
Highway 16 West, Philadelphia, Miss.
Sportsbooks Yet to Open (as of Nov. 20, 2018)
Isle of Capri Casino & Resort
777 Isle of Capri Parkway, Lula, Miss.
Lady Luck Casino
1380 Warrenton Road, Vicksburg, Miss.
Lighthouse Point Casino
199 N. Lakefront Road, Greenville, Miss.
1100 Casino Strip Blvd., Robinsonville, Miss.
Trop Casino Greenville
199 Lake Front Road, Greenville, Miss.
Tunica Roadhouse Casino and Hotel
1107 Casino Center Drive, Robinsonville, Miss.
United States Supreme Court Overturns PASPA: What That Means for Legal Sports Betting.
On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of New Jersey in Murphy vs. NCAA, overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the 1992 federal law that prohibited full-fledged sports betting in every state except Nevada.
In essence, that means sports wagering is now a states’ rights issue. Every to state is free to choose if it wants sports betting and, if so, how to regulate it and tax it.
Since May 14, legal Delaware sports betting began at its three commercial casinos on June 5, and the state of New Jersey accepted its first sports bet at Monmouth Park on June 14.
The road to the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) took about seven years in a lengthy legal battle between New Jersey and the NCAA alongside the major professional sports leagues, who used PASPA to block the state from offering sports betting. The high court heard oral argument in the case in December 2017 and ruled in May, with Justice Samuel Alito authoring the majority opinion.
In an opinion joined by all of the justices except Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sotomayor, Alito stated:
The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make.
Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not. PASPA ‘regulate[s] state governments’ regulation’ of their citizens, New York, 505 U. S., at 166. The Constitution gives Congress no such power. The judgment of the Third Circuit is reversed.”
New Jersey built its case on constitutional grounds — arguing that the law “commandeered” states to uphold its anti-gambling laws, or maintain them, or prevent states from repealing them — in violation of principles of state sovereignty. And it worked. Congress had overstepped its bounds. Congress could have outright banned sports wagering, and still could, but that’s not what PASPA did.
The case, originally titled Christie v NCAA (it changed with the new governor), was heard by the Supreme Court after making its way through the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, before SCOTUS granted New Jersey’s petition for a day in the high court.
What Was the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act?
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, known as PASPA, is the 1992 law that prohibits sports betting in every state except Nevada. Ironically, New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, a former New York Knick, was a driving force behind the bill. The key ideas behind the bill were to preserve the “integrity of the games,” to stop youths from betting on sports, and to prevent other states from legalizing sports betting.
At the time the law was passed, New Jersey was among the states that had one year to legalize sports betting, but the state failed to do so. Three states, Delaware, Montana and Oregon did take advantage of the one-year filing deadline to continue quasi-sports betting games. The law grants the U.S. attorney general and the leagues the power to go to the courts to block a state from legalizing sports betting, which is what the leagues have done with New Jersey.
For a full explanation of PASPA, click here.