MS Sportsbooks Take in $7.7M in Handle in August and Much Bigger Numbers AheadBy Jill R. Dorson | Published: September 20, 2018 at 2:55 pm
The Mississippi Gaming Commission on Thursday released its official report for the first full month of sports betting, and the state took in $7.7 million in handle with gross taxable revenue of $644,489. The handle includes futures bets made, while the taxable revenue does not include futures bets, many of which are not yet decided.
Mississippi’s coastal casinos, which include sportsbooks from Bay St. Louis to the Biloxi area, took in the most amount of bets, with $4,363,799, while the most bets were made on baseball, followed by football and parlay cards. The report runs from Aug. 1-31, and does not include the figures through Labor Day weekend.
In terms of breakdown, Mississippi sportsbooks took $3,326,580 bets on baseball, $2,388,273 on football and $1,518,973.46 on sports parlay cards. There were also about $116,000 worth of basketball bets and $$346,000 on other sports made. Expect football to be king in September – when you add in the first weekend of college football games, the handle was $9.8 million through Sept. 3, which means state sportsbooks took in about $3.5 million in bets over the Labor Day weekend. The year-to-date handle through Sept. 8 was $16.3 million.
First Month of Mississippi Sports Betting Through Labor Day Shows Potential of Gulf Coast Market
“The Mississippi Gaming Commission has been very pleased with the operations at our sportsbooks to date,” Jay McDaniel MCG Deputy Director told Sports Handle. “The August revenue numbers were about what we expected, and the $7.7 million of handle is very encouraging. As you know, we have 20 casino operators that have sportsbooks running now, but they were not all open the entire month of August, so we expect September revenue to be greater.”
Only two sportsbooks were open for the entire reporting period and five total for the two weeks of the period. The remaining 15 sportsbooks opened on Aug. 17 or later.
The hold, or the amount the sportsbooks kept, was a little more than 10 percent, according to the report. The hold in Nevada is typically around 5 percent. In August, New Jersey sportsbooks kept about 9.6 percent and in July, Delaware book held 6.4 percent of wagers.
The state of Mississippi taxes sports betting at 12 percent (8 percent state, 4 percent local), which translates into about $77,000 pouring into state coffers after the first full month of sports betting.
It’s also important to note that the August numbers are nowhere near complete – besides missing the first NFL weekend and barely catching some SEC football, only a handful of the state’s sportsbooks were open for business. Now that more are up and running, the September numbers should blow away August.
Mississippi Sportsbooks Opened Throughout the Month of August, and Report Doesn’t Include First NFL Weekend, So Expect Handle to Rise in September
Mississippi was the third state behind Delaware and New Jersey to open for sports betting, and by way of comparison, New Jersey, with a population of about 9 million people took in $40.6 million for its first full month (July 1-31) and Delaware took in $8.2 million total wagers in its first full month (June 25-July 29).
Mississippi has a population of about 3 million – and lacks access to a major metropolitan area. New Jersey’s FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands is just a hop, skip and a jump from New York City, while Delaware Park is less than an hour drive to Philadelphia. Mississippi benefits from traffic from nearby New Orleans, but New York and Philadelphia dwarf New Orleans’ population.
Mississippi became the third state to open for sports betting when the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi and Gold Strike Casino in Tunica took the state’s first sports bets on Aug. 1. The remainder of the state’s casinos opened as the month wore on. Also keep in mind that MS sportsbooks are permitted to offer mobile betting options on-premises only. That means literally on the casino property.
Given the limitation, operators so far are focused on mastering the retail side of operations as some may explore mobile options later, and perhaps the gaming commission open up mobile betting statewide down the line.
In addition, the sports betting is available at the Choctaw-owned Golden Moon sportsbook, but tribal casinos in Mississippi are not governed by the gaming commission.