Last year Mississippi changed its state law in anticipation of the United States Supreme Court ruling that repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This was done by removing the prohibition on sports wagering within a bill that was meant to legalize daily fantasy sports in the state. The Gardenia State then went ahead to approve a number of regulations that were tailored to govern the newly legalized sports betting market – this was done last month and also involved a few tweaks from the originally proposed draft rules.
These new regulations include clauses that limit mobile gambling options for sports bettors. Furthermore, sports betting in the state will only be allowed at physical sportsbooks or through smartphones within an approved casino. As such, sports bettors will have to be located within the premises of a land- or water-based casino in order to place sports bets. Bettors will be able to wager at a casino’s restaurant, but not while in the parking garage.
Legalized sports betting at Mississippi casinos was set to officially begin today (July 22), but this is quite unlikely. The date was agreed upon on June 21 when the Mississippi Gaming Commission approved the state’s sports betting regulations. The gambling regulator set a 30-day waiting period that would precede the official date when the casino operators would be finally allowed to offers sports betting services.
The Casinos Are Taking Their Time
According to Commissioner Allen Godfrey, all of the Gardenia State’s casinos that have applied to offer sports betting are still in the process of carving out space in their businesses to build sports bars and tailoring their offerings to fit the state law requirements before they are approved for operation. Each casino’s sports betting operation will have to be approved by the Mississippi Gaming Commission staff and while a decent number of them are already in the renovation phase, no specific opening dates have been provided.
The Sun Herald of Biloxi recently reported that the casinos are taking their time with the preparations particularly because they intend to have sports betting fully in place by the time the football season kicks off in late August or early September. This gives a better picture of when we might finally get to see sports betting go live in Mississippi.
Sun Herald also reports that a decent number of the 12 Mississippi Coast casinos including Beau Rivage, Palace, Boomtown in Biloxi and Harrahs have already begun renovating their space into sportsbooks. Other joints, such as Scarlet Pearl in D’Iberviller and IP in Biloxi have even been advertising various sportsbook jobs for the past few weeks.
“Let’s keep our eyes wide open and focus on doing it right and providing quality product and allow it to mature into what it will become,” Keith Crosby the Palace Casino general manager told the Sun Herald.