The Mississippi House has approved a bill that would lead to the legalization of online sports betting, a move that brings the final outcome closer than ever. The bill, known as The Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act, passed with 97-14 votes in favor of legalization. This act would allow gambling companies to offer mobile sports betting services while complying with brick-and-mortar establishments. The approval of this bill marks a significant step towards the legalization of online sports betting in Mississippi.
Casey Eure, a Republican Representative and the prime sponsor of the bill, has stated that online sports betting could bring in an estimated $25-35 million in tax revenue every year. Currently, illegal sports betting is thriving in the state, with about $3 billion being generated through illegal bets on a yearly basis. Eure believes that legalizing online sports betting would provide an opportunity for the state to add that money to its funds.
The bill initially proposed 12% tax rates on online sports betting, with 8% of that amount going to the state and the remaining 4% going to the localities where the casino is placed. However, after a revision, the authorities decided that the state would use the entire 12% to repair emergency roads and bridges.
However, concerns and doubts have been voiced by Robert Johnson, a House Democratic Leader. He is concerned about partnerships that will have to occur in order to establish a healthy climate for the industry to thrive. There is a worry that gambling platforms may choose to partner with small casinos instead of the renowned Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos. Johnson proposed a new amendment to ensure that all casinos would receive their shares of revenue. Although the amendment was not approved by the Republicans, Johnson remains positive that mobile sports betting will be legalized soon.
The next step towards legalization is sending the bill to the Mississippi State Senate for approval, a move that could bring online sports betting one step closer to becoming a reality in Mississippi.