The decision this month by Mississippi lawmakers to kick an online sports-betting bill down the road came back to haunt them this week with the release of the Magnolia State’s total wagers on the Super Bowl.
Sports-betting handle at Mississippi’s brick and mortar casinos on Sunday’s pro football championship game dipped to $6.4m, more than 21 percent lower than last year’s total of $8.1m.
This year’s total was even lower by almost 5 percent than Mississippi’s Super Bowl handle two years ago of $6.7m.
“Our neighbor Louisiana went live with retail sports betting a few months ago and added mobile wagering across most of their state two weeks ago,” Jay McDaniel, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, told VIXIO GamblingCompliance on Tuesday (February 15).
“I have no doubt that impacted our market significantly,” McDaniel said.
Although Super Bowl numbers in Louisiana are not scheduled to be released until next month, Ronnie Johns, the chairman of the state’s gaming control board, has said he would not be surprised if his state’s handle surpasses $67m.
“Talking to all of the platform providers out there, they were taking in very large volumes of bets over the weekend,” Johns said, according to WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
McDaniel’s predecessor in Mississippi, Alan Godfrey, did not hide his frustration with the state legislature’s reluctance to legalize mobile betting when he retired six months ago.
Asked if online wagering in Louisiana might persuade Mississippi lawmakers to follow suit, Godfrey said: “I hope. I don’t know what will, but maybe that will.”
Mississippi has squandered a three-year head start on sports betting over its western neighbor and chief rival, Louisiana.
Other sports-betting states appear to have enjoyed a bumper Super Bowl this year.
Illinois, for example, reported more than $60.5m in total handle on the Super Bowl, a 32.7 percent increase over last year’s handle of $45.6m.
Online wagers in Illinois accounted for $54.8m or more than 90.5 percent of the total Super Bowl handle in Illinois.
This year’s online handle in Illinois surpassed last year’s sum by $12m for an increase of more than 28 percent.
Nevada reported a record haul of almost $180m in handle for this year’s Super Bowl. This year’s total eclipsed Nevada’s handle last year of $136.1m by more than 32 percent.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board does not break down the amount of online handle versus over-the-counter bets.
“You could say that the board estimates that between 60 percent and 70 percent of wagers placed on the [Super Bowl] were placed via mobile devices or computers,” said Michael Lawton, a senior economic analyst at the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
New Jersey reported a Super Bowl handle of $143.7m, an increase of 22.4 percent over last year’s total of $117.4m. The unaudited revenue figures include New Jersey’s 12 retail sportsbooks and 24 mobile applications.
Montana’s handle reached about $700,000, according to the Associated Press.