Mississippi Won’t Get Mobile Betting in 2022 as Bills Falter

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Mississippi will not get mobile betting this year after four bills failed to progress this week. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Not enough concessions

Mississippi has offered retail sports betting since August 2018, but its casinos are now facing fresh competition from mobile markets in neighboring states. Now, any hopes of adding an online market in 2022 have fallen flat with four bills failing to progress through the legislature this week.

the bills faced opposition from five local casino operators

The legislation, introduced throughout January, died in committee on Tuesday without making it to a vote. Rep. Casey Eure, chairman of the MS House Gaming Committee, told reporters that the bills faced opposition from five local casino operators. The operators felt the legislation did not contain enough concessions for the land-based industry.

Eure’s bill, HB 997, would have legalized mobile sports betting throughout the state of Mississippi. Each casino would have received one online betting license and bettors would have to register in-person for their accounts. In a first-of-its-kind measure, bettors would have had to renew account registration in-person every 12 months.

Three other attempts

Eure wasn’t the only Mississippi lawmaker desperately trying to keep betting revenue within state boundaries this year. In addition to HB 997, three other bills also failed to progress on Tuesday. Through HB 184, Rep. Cedric Burnett was hoping to legalize mobile sports betting on his third attempt in just four years.

Burnett is one of Mississippi’s main sports betting proponents. HB 184 was similar to legislation he filed in both 2019 and 2020. It would give any licensed casino in the state the right to launch a mobile sportsbook.

Senator Philip Moran wanted to approve mobile betting while also allowing wagering on esports events through his SB 2462. Meanwhile, a final bill, SB 2652, bore the same title and language as Eure’s legislation but excluded the in-person registration requirements.

Competition heats up

When Mississippi first launched sports betting in 2018, none of its neighbors offered wagering. This meant its casinos could enjoy business from Louisiana, Alabama, Arizona, and Tennessee bettors as they crossed state boundaries to place bets. Now, the shoe is on the other foot, with three of Mississippi’s neighboring states offering online markets.

more than 3.4 million transactions in their first weekend

Most recently, Louisiana mobile betting went live last Friday with the launch of BetMGM, Caesars, FanDuel, and DraftKings sportsbooks. According to data from GeoComply, Louisiana sportsbooks registered more than 3.4 million transactions in their first weekend. Within the first 36 hours, the total number of unique users that placed at least one bet represented 3.6% of the state’s adult population.

Meanwhile, Tennessee became the first American state to feature an online-only market when it launched in November 2020. According to VegasSlotsOnline News research from last year, Tennesseean bettors wagered the fifth-most per person in the entire nation up to March 2021. They averaged around $113.31 per month.

Arizona mobile sports betting smashed US records in its first month, reporting $777m in wagers for September and October combined. The September total of $291.2m set a new record among US states debuting betting in 2021, while October’s amount broke the record for highest handle made by a state in its first full month.