Legal Online Sports Betting Possibly on Its Way to Mississippi

Legal Online Sports Betting Possibly on Its Way to Mississippi

The US online sports betting scene is experiencing a robust expansion. The Mississippi House of Representatives recently passed a bill aiming to legalise online sports betting within the state.

In a parallel development, next month will see North Carolina allowing its gamblers to legally place bets online on various sports.

This forward momentum in Mississippi and North Carolina highlights a broader trend of increasing acceptance and legalisation of US online sports betting, offering enthusiasts new and legal avenues to engage with their favourite pastime.

The journey of House Bill 774

House Bill 774 is the harbinger of positive developments in Mississippi, where, currently, sports betting is confined to land-based casinos. This change traces back to 2018, a pivotal year for the gambling industry in the United States.

For years, the legality of sports betting was a decision resting solely with the Federal Government, often relegating it to a lower priority and creating a less than favourable situation.

The landscape shifted dramatically in 2018 when a US Supreme Court Judge decreed that the authority to legalise sports betting lay with the individual states.

👉 Since this landmark decision, over 30 states have welcomed legal sports betting, much to the delight of gamblers and the companies serving them, whilst states enjoy a significant boost in tax revenues.

Championed by eight state representatives, the bill saw overwhelming support during a vote in the House, with a 98 to 14 victory. Having cleared this significant obstacle, its next stop is the Senate.

The bill's prospects for becoming law are bright. Should it pass, Mississippi's 26 land-based casinos will have the green light to extend online sports betting services to their patrons. This expansion will permit partnerships with a single licensed platform, supplementing any existing retail sportsbooks.

The importance of Bill HB606

Last year marked a significant milestone for Mississippi's sports betting sector with the enactment of Bill HB606. This legislation led to the establishment of a task force charged with conducting an in-depth review of the state's sports betting operations.

Mississippi has faced challenges due to neighbouring states legalising online sports betting, with Tennessee embracing legalisation in 2020, followed by both Louisiana and Arkansas introducing their online sports betting markets two years prior. Alabama remains the only adjacent state where sports betting is not yet legal.

This discrepancy created a frustrating scenario for Mississippi, as residents ventured across state lines to place their bets, benefiting personally but detrimentally affecting Mississippi by depriving it of potential tax revenues.

Another concern for Mississippians has been the temptation to engage with unlicensed betting accounts, a route fraught with risks. Not only does this bypass the opportunity for the state to collect taxes, but it also significantly diminishes the level of protection available to gamblers.

Benefits of legalisation

As Mississippi seems set to legalise online sports betting, this move will enhance customer protection significantly. Sportsbooks commencing legal operations will be keen to adhere to regulations to avoid penalties or the loss of their licence. Consequently, punters will have a recourse should any issues arise.

Regarding tax revenue, companies with online sports betting earnings below $50,000 per month are subject to a 4% tax rate. This rate increases to 6% for revenues between $50,000 and $134,000, and any earnings exceeding $134,000 attract an 8% tax rate.

Moreover, the state stands to benefit from more than just gambling tax revenues. It can also impose an application fee on those seeking licences to run online sports betting operations.

Whilst specific fees have not been disclosed, the renewal fee for a manufacturer’s licence is set at £1,000, with the distributor’s licence renewal costing half that amount.

As for the gamblers

For punters themselves, the legal betting age is set at 21, and all wagers must be placed within Mississippi's borders.

Should the bill successfully navigate the Senate and receive the Governor's signature, it's slated to become law on 1 July this year.

However, it won't be immediate for bettors to start placing legal sports wagers. They'll need to navigate the initial licensing application process, followed by the establishment of regulations governing the state's online gambling sector.

Yet, hope isn't pinned on this bill alone. Two additional proposals are underway to legalise online sports betting in Mississippi, painting an optimistic future for the state's betting landscape.

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