Mississippi lawmaker pushes for mobile sports betting

A new effort to authorise state-wide mobile sports betting is underway in Mississippi.

Mississippi Representative Cedric Burnett has revived HB 172, a bill that would authorise mobile sports betting in the state of Mississippi.

A similar proposal was put forth in 2019 but did not garner enough support amongst lawmakers in the state.

What’s covered in HB 172?

HB 172 would revise the Mississippi Gaming Control Act’s definition of a sports pool and would define a platform as a person or entity that operates a sports pool or racebook via the internet.

In its current form, the Gaming Control Act states that bets can only be placed by individuals present on a licensed vessel. Mobile sports betting is also not available state-wide, at the moment, mobile sports betting apps can only be used on licensed casino property. The law would be changed to allow sports betting via approved platforms.

Under the legislation, approved platforms could be operated on behalf of licensed land-based casinos, provided they are licensed as a distributor by the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

The current fee of $500 for a sellers’ license would also apply to distributors and a further $500 would be the cost to renew the license. The bill also states that any sports betting revenue generated through an online platform that is greater than $134,000 would be subject to a 6% gross revenue tac on top of the general 8% tax rate.

Under HB 172, the definition of sports pools would be changed to cover single bets, parlays, teasers, moneylines, pools, over-unders, exchange betting, in-play betting and proposition bets. HB 172 would also lift the ban on fantasy sports contests for collegiate sporting events.

Sports betting in Mississippi

Mississippi was one of the few states to legalize sports betting in 2018. In 2017, the state repealed a section of its law that prohibited sports betting and began work on forging sports betting regulations. Once the Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, Mississippi went on to launch sports betting operations in August 2018.

Currently, sports betting in Mississippi is restricted to land-based sportsbooks at licensed casinos.

According to figures from the Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC), sports betting revenue in December dropped to $3.5m in December, its lowest figure since August despite betting handle increasing to $49.1m.

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