A group of lawmakers will be tasked with reviewing legislative options for the expansion of gambling to include statewide Mississippi online sports betting.
On Monday, Gov. Tate Reeves signed HB 606 into law, which directs 13 state legislators to complete a comprehensive analysis of all matters related to online sports betting by Dec. 15, 2023.
The task force will comprise key officials from or appointed by the state Gaming Commission. Appointees will come from the Department of Revenue, Gaming and Hospitality Association, Senate Gaming Committee and House Gaming Committee.
Under the bill’s terms, task force names must be finalized by July 31.
Since its launch, Mississippi sports betting has been limited to in-person sportsbooks and geofenced apps on casino grounds. Sports betting law has remained unchanged since the gaming commission introduced rules for in-person wagering in 2018. However, Mississippi does have one prominent operational mobile app, BetMGM.
To set up a BetMGM sports betting account, users must be within an MGM casino premise or at the partnered property. For example, Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica allows players to bet online using the BetMGM mobile app.
Until early 2022, Tennessee was the only neighboring state with legal, regulated sports betting. Since then, online sports betting has become legal in Arkansas and most of Louisiana. Additionally, lawmakers in Alabama and Georgia are still exploring the possibility of sports betting.
Bills to study the economic benefits of sports betting are familiar. Georgia is also in the mix of passing a similar bill ahead of its Wednesday legislative deadline. Up north, Vermont passed a similar bill last year and is now close to legalizing sports betting.
Last year four separate sports betting bills were introduced. However, none were able to pass.
If lawmakers accept the options from the task force, it could allow the 28 Mississippi casinos to partner with one corresponding online sportsbook.
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