Mississippi sports betting revenue sees sharp decline in March

Mississippi’s sports betting figures have seen a significant decrease thanks to a shortage of events to bet on and the closure of casinos.

According to figures from the Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC), sportsbooks in the state generated $648,646 in revenue in March, a 69.2% month-on-month decrease on the $2.1m generated in February.

Betting handle also fell, after bettors in the state wagered $10.7m in March, representing a 68.8% drop on the $34.5m wagered in February.

When compared to 2019’s figures, revenue was down 86.8% while betting handle was down by 66.8%, which can be attributed to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) March Madness basketball tournament, which drove betting activity in 2019, was cancelled this year to help halt the spread of the coronavirus. Shortly after the cancellation of March Madness and all major US sporting events, all non-essential businesses in the state, which includes casinos, temporarily closed on March 16. As sports betting in Mississippi is restricted to in-person wagering at a casino sportsbook, this effectively bought the month to a premature end.

Breaking down the figures

The MGC places Mississippi’s casino sportsbooks into three different categories based on their location – coastal, central and northern.

Looking closer at the figures, the state’s coastal casinos accounted for the majority of the state’s betting activity after processing a combined $6.6m in wagers. However, coastal casinos only generated $354,320 in revenue in March

Mississippi’s central casinos generated $371,887 in revenue after bettors wagered $1.6m on sports at these venues. The state’s central casino led the market in terms of sports betting revenue.

Meanwhile, the state’s northern casinos came in third place after generating $22,438 in revenue from $2.5m in sports wagers.

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 In 2017, the state repealed a section of its law that prohibited sports betting and began work on forging sports betting regulations. Once the Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, Mississippi went on to launch sports betting operations in August 2018.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, However, Mississippi Representative Cedric Burnett has revived HB 172, a bill that would authorise mobile sports betting in the state of Mississippi.

At the time of writing, mobile sports betting apps can only be used on licensed casino property. The proposed legislation would permit state-wide sports betting via approved platforms.

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