Gamblers will be able to place their first legal sports bets in the state of Mississippi starting Wednesday, as two casinos open their sportsbooks in the third state to embrace the opportunity presented by sports betting.
Two facilities owned by MGM Resorts International will open their sportsbooks on Aug. 1, with many other casinos in the state expected to start taking bets in the weeks to come.
Former Athletes, Industry Officials to Place First Bets
The first bets in the state will be taken at approximately noon on Wednesday at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi and the Gold Strike Casino in Tunica.
At the Beau Rivage – notable in the local poker scene for hosting the Gulf Coast Poker Championship – a series of high-profile bettors will officially open the new sportsbook. That includes former Miami Hurricane running back Willis McGahee, bookmaker Danny Sheridan, former NFL and LSU tight end Robert Royal, and former state gaming commission director Larry Gregory.
The current sportsbook at the Beau Rivage will feature seven windows, and is located just outside of the poker room. In the future, the former Coast nightclub will be converted into a full sportsbook and bar, allowing patrons to watch the games they bet on.
Other Casinos Plan to Start Taking Bets Soon
Mississippi regulators first released rules for sports betting in the state last month, with the regulations going into effect officially on July 21. While the MGM resorts were the first ones to get their sportsbooks up and running, it appears likely that most – if not all – of the Gulf Coast casinos in the state will have the ability to take bets by the time the NFL regular season begins on September 6.
Boyd Gaming says that two of their properties – Sam’s Town in Tunica and IP Casino in Biloxi – should be able to start taking bets in early August, assuming they receive regulatory approval. Caesars Entertainment, working in concert with Scientific Games, said in a press release that the Horseshoe Tunica and Harrah’s Gulf Coast should have sportsbooks opened by mid-August.
According to a report by the Biloxi Sun Herald, all 12 casinos on the Gulf Coast say that they will offer sports betting at some point.
Until this year, Nevada was the only state in the US that was able to offer full sports betting. That changed in May, when the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Act (PASPA), a law that had prevented states from passing sports betting regulations. Since then, both Delaware and New Jersey have opened sportsbooks at venues like casinos and racetracks, with other states like West Virginia and Pennsylvania expecting to follow close behind.
But Mississippi is somewhat uniquely positioned, as it is the only Southern state to offer sports betting so far. While casinos don’t generally make a lot of revenue directly from bets on sporting events, opening sportsbooks could give Gulf Coast casinos a competitive advantage for attracting gamblers from around the region.