Published: December 9, 2023

Mississippi Gaming Commission director expects lawmakers to push for online sports betting in 2024

Online sports betting has emerged as one of the major gambling verticals in the United States, but as of December 2023, it remains illegal in Mississippi, with wagers allowed only within the premises of licensed casinos within the state.

Mississippi introduced in-person sports betting back in 2018, a development that Jay McDaniel, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, believes might undergo legislative changes in the upcoming session, allowing for online wagering.

“I expect you’ll see at least bills be introduced every year," he stated, as reported by WJTV. "Since 2018, we have seen at least a bill be introduced. What we have not seen is one of those bills come out of a committee yet for a floor debate. I think you can expect in January to see a bill. The question will be whether that bill actually comes out of a committee for debate to be passed."

Regarding the potential financial impact of such a bill, McDaniel highlighted that transitioning from retail to online sports betting generally yields revenue growth, eventually leading to enhanced tax revenues for the state. However, he also acknowledged the need to evaluate whether this increase would outweigh any potential negative impacts on the Mississippi gaming landscape.

"I think there’s little doubt that we would see an increase in revenue, which would ultimately increase tax revenue,” he said. “The question is, how much would that be and would that increase be worth any negative impact that it might have on our current gaming environment?”

To navigate the complexities surrounding the potential legalization of online sports betting, a Mississippi Betting Task Force was established. This task force convened multiple times throughout the year, discussing various aspects related to online wagering. Their comprehensive findings are slated to be compiled and submitted in a report to the Legislature by December 15, 2023.

"A variety of different topics were discussed that compiled those findings. Those will be submitted in a report to the Legislature, and I think what the Legislature will see some of those benefits that mobile wagering could bring to the state, as well as some of the concerns that might be there," McDaniel added.

"What I would expect is if a bill comes out in the Legislature, that they will take those findings and incorporate them into a bill eventually,” the executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission told WJTV.

As the 2024 Legislative Session looms, set to commence on January 2, 2024, the fate of online sports betting in Mississippi remains a significant subject of discussion and anticipation among industry stakeholders and legislators alike.

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