Mississippi Misses Out On Mobile Sports Betting Yet Again

February 2, 2022
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The slow start for gaming bills in 2022 continued on Tuesday with a crucial deadline passing in Mississippi without consideration of a bill that would expand mobile sports betting in the Magnolia State.

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The slow start for gaming bills in 2022 continued on Tuesday (February 1) with a crucial deadline passing in Mississippi without consideration of a bill that would expand mobile sports betting in the Magnolia State.

Mississippi launched sportsbooks at casinos in 2018, becoming one of the first to do so following the overturning of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier that year.

However, the current law allows only in-person wagering at casinos, as well as mobile betting confined only to the casino site, a model that has often been referred to as the “Mississippi Mobile” within the industry in conversations in other states.

Each year since 2018, an effort has been made by Mississippi legislators to expand to a state-wide mobile model, but 2022 will be the fourth year that those efforts have proven unsuccessful.

Some observers were confident that a more serious effort would be made following the launch of mobile betting last week in Louisiana, where the local casino industry is fiercely competitive with neighboring Mississippi casinos for customers near each state’s border.

Tuesday marked a deadline for bills to clear legislative committees in the Mississippi House and Senate, and bills in each chamber of the legislature failed to receive a vote.

House Gaming Committee chairman Casey Eure, a Republican, told the Herald Sun newspapers that lawmakers “hit a roadblock” on mobile sports betting, without elaborating. The Mississippi Gaming Association declined to comment to VIXIO GamblingCompliance on the legislation.

Another sports-betting expansion bill that failed to advance on Tuesday was a House bill in Virginia that would have permitted wagering on in-state college sports.

House Bill 1127 received a House subcommittee hearing, but failed to advance after a 6-2 negative vote by committee members.

“When we did the initial coming out with casinos and online sports betting, the agreement we had when we were counting the votes was not to allow betting on college sports in Virginia to try to keep a little bit of an arm’s length from the situation,” said Virginia Delegate Barry Knight. “I’m just going to stick with what I agreed to two years ago.”

An alliance of sports-betting operators that includes FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Bally’s and Fanatics spoke in favor of the bill during Tuesday’s hearing, arguing that refusing to allow bets on local college teams hurts efforts to convert players from offshore sportsbooks to regulated operators.

However, one bill did advance on Tuesday, as a Senate committee in South Dakota passed a constitutional resolution that would give voters the option to approve state-wide mobile sports betting this November.

The Senate Commerce and Energy Committee voted 6-5 to pass Senate Joint Resolution 502, which would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot for voters to consider.

Voters approved sports betting at Deadwood casinos in 2020, but much like in Mississippi, players must be inside a casino property to place a bet.

South Dakota has a February 23 deadline for bills to clear one chamber of the legislature before they expire.

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