Gambling Legislation

Mississippi casinos try to get in front of online sports betting legislation

Mississippi casinos try to get in front of online sports betting legislation

Land-based casinos will try to prevent Mississippi from exploring online sports betting

The Mobile Online Sports Betting Task Force of the Mississippi legislature assembled on Tuesday to listen to various gaming industry authorities, including local casino operators, who are against the online expansion of sports betting. Mississippi launched retail sports betting at casino properties only in 2018.

Other casino operators in Mississippi realize the opportunities sports betting can offer the state. Despite the casino’s positions, state Representative Casey Eure declared he will present online sports betting in the next legislative session and at the November 13 task force meeting, which will debate the points of the bill.

“I’ve already publicly said that I will have a bill that I will introduce,” said Eure. “Now, I can’t sit here and tell you for sure that it’s gonna pass the House and I’ll be able to send it to the Senate, but I wanted everybody to know where I stood from day one.”

Five casinos had spokespeople in attendance at the task force meeting, with no overall consensus on expanding to online sports betting. However, the smaller operators were uncompromising, believing they would be disadvantaged by statewide mobile sports betting.

“This unfettered growth will be dominated by a few operators, and our chance to compete with that is zero,” said Palace Casino GM Keith Crosby.

The potential adverse effect on local operators is also an issue for some legislators. Multiple mobile sports betting bills have been proposed, with none of them gaining much interest from state lawmakers.

The task force is designated to produce a report for lawmakers by December 15, leading up to the 2024 legislative session starting on January 2. It will address matters including tax rates, licensing structure, and whether to offer voters a referendum on the issue.

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