Gambling Legislation

Mississippi doesn’t appear to be ready for iGaming legislation

Mississippi doesn't appear to be ready for iGaming legislation

Mississippi will likely push for sports betting legalization, but not online casino

The Mississippi “Mobile-Online Sports Betting Task Force” held what was potentially their final public hearing on Tuesday, with members collecting more information and obtaining a briefing from the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review.

The task force’s conclusions and proposals are required to be provided to the state legislature by December 15. Proposed legislation could be introduced later, presumably avoiding language that includes online casino gambling after the task force listened to concerns from retail casino operators.

Director of sportsbook operations for Choctaw Resort Development Enterprises, Chris Hopwood, outlined some of the concerns with mobile betting on Tuesday, warning the task force of the danger posed by “corporate giants” like FanDuel and DraftKings.

“These corporations do not have Mississippi’s best interests at heart,” said Hopwood. “They only care about their own profits, and they do not have a connection with the people.”

Co-chair of the Task Force, Representative Casey Eure, repeated his plans to present legislation related to online sports betting. “My number one goal is to protect bricks and mortar,” he told the committee. “I’ve said that from the beginning. This bill would not have anything to do with iGaming.”

Mississippi follows the guarded perspective other states have embraced. Over 25 states have legalized mobile sports betting, while only seven have legal iGaming. Mississippi operates 26 commercial casinos owned by 16 groups, including Caesars Entertainment and Penn Entertainment.

The bill forming the online sports betting task force was enacted by the Mississippi legislature and endorsed by the governor in March. The Task Force’s directive is to “undertake a comprehensive analysis of all matters related to online sports betting within this state.” It was legally instructed to conduct its initial meeting within 60 days after the law took effect, which was on July 1.

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