Mississippi moves closer to launching sports gaming

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Mississippi moves closer to launching sports gaming
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Inside a casino, a look at gaming machines
Courtesy: Flickr, Jason

Casinos and regulators are one step closer to launching sports gambling in Mississippi. But, as MPB's Ashley Norwood reports, officials say there's still work to be done.

Sports gambling is now legal in the state of Mississippi after regulations adopted by the Mississippi Gaming Commission took effect this weekend. Alan Godfrey is the executive director. He says Mississippians could be able to place their first wagers by September but, it's up to the casinos.

"The properties have to complete their renovations and they've got to get their software their platforms ready and they're just not ready yet. And then some of the platform providers have to get licensed," said Godfrey.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May largely legalized sports gambling. In 2017, Mississippi had already changed its law to allow sports betting as part of a bill to legalize fantasy sports.

State regulations specify that betting on any pro, college or Olympic sport will be confined to the casino's property.

Godfrey says so far 18 out of the 28 state-regulated casinos have applied.

In a recent interview, Governor Phil Bryant said he will likely call a special legislative session in August. He expects lawmakers to discuss whether sports betting revenue and other funds will be used for infrastructure projects.

"It'll be a number of revenue measures and those two both the sports gaming and Internet sales tax will be part of it. There will be a state lottery more than likely included in that call, so we are now looking at a scheduling time," said Bryant.

Godfrey says right now, sports gaming revenue is taxed at 12 percent. That is eight percent for the state and four percent for local governments. It's the same rate as other gaming revenue.

Ashley Norwood, MPB News.