Mississippi House Approves the Bill to Legalize Online Sports Betting in the State

Online sports betting is about to be legalized, and the most recent step brought the final outcome closer than ever. On Thursday, February 1, the Mississippi House approved a bill that would lead to the legalization of online sports betting.

Mobile sports betting about to go live in Mississippi:

At the moment, online sports betting is legal in 29 US states, and Mississippi is about to join the club. 

The Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act has passed the bill with 97-14 votes in favor of legalization. The Act would allow gambling companies to offer mobile sports betting services while complying with brick-and-mortar establishments. Despite retail sports betting having been legal for years, the fears that online betting might negatively affect the casino industry in the state withdrew the authorities from legalizing online services.

Casey Eure of Saucier, a Republican Representative and the prime sponsor of the bill, shared the Gaming Commission’s expectations – online sports betting might bring about $25-35 million in tax revenue every year. Since the illegal sports betting market is thriving in the state, Mississippi misses out on the opportunity to add that money to the state’s funds.

Only in Mississippi, about $3 billion is generated through illegal bets on a yearly basis. It is 5% of the whole illegal market, so in the US about $64 billion worth of illegal bets are placed every year, according to Eure.

He presented the plan to the lawmakers, and the first version of the bill proposed 12% tax rates on online sports betting. The state would get 8% of that amount, and the remaining 4% would go to the localities where the casino is placed. However, after the revision, the authorities decided tha mnl168 t the state would use all 12% to repair emergency roads and bridges.

Concerns and doubts:

Robert Johnson of Natchez, a House Democratic Leader, is concerned about partnerships that will have to occur in order to establish a healthy climate for the industry to thrive. His main concern is if the gambling platforms would want to partner with small casinos instead of the renowned Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos, and proposed a new amendment to ensure that casinos would have their shares of revenue as well.

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As Associated Press reports, he said: “The only people making money are the two people that have a contract. The money from the platforms you bet in Mississippi doesn’t go to every casino in Mississippi. It goes to the casino that you have a contract with.”

The Republicans didn’t approve the amendment, but Johnson is positive that mobile sports betting will be legalized soon.

The next step towards legalization is sending a bill to the Mississippi State Senate for approval.