Mississippi Efforts to Legalize Mobile Sports Betting Fall Short

Summary: Efforts to see Mobile sports betting legalized in the state of Mississippi have fell short in 2019.

Sports betting legislation is popping up left and right in the United States. It seems most every state wants to get in on the action. However, while some efforts are making headway, others are falling short. In Mississippi, a bill that would allow mobile sports betting in the state have died. The state already offers sports betting in land based venues but bills in the House and Senate involving mobile wagering were unable to move forward, missing the deadline to advance yesterday.

Failure to Move Forward

The annual legislative session ends on April 7th and the deadline to get the bills in was yesterday. H 1481 and S 2667 both were part of a hearing after being introduced late last month, but they were unable to gain any ground to be move any further. Sponsor of the House bill was Representative Cedric Burnett and the Senate bill was Senator Willie Simmons.

So what caused mobile betting to fall short? Land-based sports betting is already in operation so it was expected that mobile would move forward quickly. However, there were concerns that underage gambling could take place so this caused the chances of either bill moving forward to crumble. However, this does not mean that mobile gaming will not be considered in the future.

It may be years though before the conservative state is ready to allow online gambling. We may see similar legislation introduced next year, but if it comes is anyone’s guess. Now, close to two dozen casinos in the state offer legalized sports betting and wagers are taken in person over a counter.

Losing Out

Because there will be no mobile betting in the state, the industry will miss out. Sports betting should be uneven for the next few months by way of revenues due to the state offering retail only wagering and new venues offering services. Once all operations are under way, we will be able to see just how much will be earned.

For December, it was the best month yet for the industry with over $41 million wagered. Over $6 million was held by sports books, which is a nice number. However, there is so much more potential, if the state were able to offer online wagering.

Take New Jersey for example. The state was able to see over $650 million in handle over the past two months. Over 75% of that amount came from online and mobile wagering. The long term potential for sports betting is in the online sector. Gamblers today want to be able to wager from mobile phones while on the go.

If Mississippi continues to avoid offering online wagering, they will be losing out on millions of dollars in potential revenues. Players will have to go to a gaming venue to place their bets and that is not something that most people do on a regular basis. With online/mobile options, players have more freedom to place wagers and take part in the industry.

For now, players in the state will have to make do with the in person only wagering. Hopefully, we will see officials get started with new legislation so online and mobile gaming can be offered in the future.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.