Mississippi will start taking sports bets on Wednesday, making it the third state to offer full-scale sports betting since the Supreme Court overturned the statute that prevented new states from regulating the industry earlier this year.
The first bets in Mississippi will be taken at around noon on Aug. 1 at two sportsbooks located at casinos operated by MGM Resorts International.
Beau Rivage Sportsbook Taps Celebrity Appeal
The first wagers are expected to come at approximately the same time at the Gold Strike Casino in Tunica and the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi.
Sports betting in Mississippi had been expected to come sometime before the start of the NFL season, though until Monday, there was no firm date for when the first sportsbooks would open. The Mississippi Gaming Commission began rolling out regulations for the industry in June, with those rules officially taking effect on July 21.
Now just 10 days later, the first venues are poised to take the first bets in the state. The Beau Rivage has announced a series of celebrity bettors to open their sportsbook, including former NFL running back Willis McGahee, former LSU tight end Robert Royal, oddsmaker Danny Sheridan, and Larry Gregory, a former director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission who now serves as the executive director of the Mississippi Hotel and Hospitality Association.
While the two MGM properties are taking the first bets in the state, they won�t be the last casinos to jump on the sports betting train. Boyd Gaming is hoping to launch its own sportsbooks at the IP Casino in Biloxi and Sam�s Town in Tunica in early August, pending approval from the gaming commission.
After that, it�s likely that all of the Gulf Coast casinos will eventually offer betting on sports, with the Biloxi Sun Herald saying that all 12 Coast casinos are planning on opening sportsbooks. Most are expected to be opened in time for the NFL regular season.
As in other states, officials have been careful to say that sports betting won�t directly bring in game-changing revenues for casinos. However, the hope is that the attraction will bring in gamblers who will then spend money on other things as well, either in terms of gaming or on other amenities.
In that regard, Mississippi might have a particular advantage over some of the other early adopting states. At the moment, it is the only state in the South that is offering sports betting. On the other hand, Delaware and New Jersey are part of a Mid-Atlantic market that is likely to become increasingly competitive, as Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York are likely to have at least some sports betting venues in the near future.
After the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Act in May, Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to allow full sports betting, doing so on June 5. New Jersey followed about a week later, with race tracks and casinos in the state eligible to open sportsbooks.