Mississippi Lawmakers Introduce First Online Sports Betting Bills of the Session

Quick Intro

Online sports betting in Mississippi is gaining momentum with new bills introduced to expand the state’s gambling landscape. Representative Cedric Burnette has introduced HB 271, targeting the legalization of online sports betting for gaming license holders. Additionally, Representative Jay McKnight has filed HB 635, following a similar path.

Since 2018, Mississippi’s gambling scene has included retail casinos, but the state has been limited to only one online sports betting option, restricted to in-person betting at licensed casino properties. The introduction of these bills could potentially broaden Mississippi’s gambling offerings, allowing for more expansive online sports betting opportunities.

Key Provisions of the Proposed Online Sports Betting Bills

The new HB 271 bill outlines eligibility for the state’s 28 commercial casinos to provide online gambling across Mississippi. It proposes a tiered tax model based on the monthly gross sports betting revenue of the licensees, with rates set at 4% for revenue up to $50,000 per month, 6% for revenue between $50,000 and $134,000, and 8% for revenue exceeding $134,000. The bill is set to be effective from July 1, 2024, if passed.

Recommendations from the Online Sports Betting Task Force

Governor Tate Reeves’ endorsement of HB 606 in March 2023 led to the formation of a task force comprising legislators and representatives from various committees and associations. This task force conducted a study and issued recommendations last December, which could significantly influence the state’s approach to online sports betting expansion. The report included various tax models and potential uses for the revenue generated from expanded online betting.

Legalizing online sports betting in Mississippi could substantially increase state revenue, moving beyond the current in-person betting restrictions.

Final Thoughts

The move by New Jersey and Washington to establish diversion courts for problem gambling is a forward-thinking initiative that could transform the approach to addressing gambling-related financial crimes. It not only offers a path to rehabilitation for those battling gambling disorders but also represents a potential cost-saving measure for the state justice systems. The proposed legislation, if passed, marks a significant step towards more compassionate and economically efficient handling of gambling-related offenses. The anticipation around these bills underscores a growing recognition of the need for specialized treatment and support in the realm of problem gambling, potentially setting a precedent for other states to follow.