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Mississippi Lawmakers Working to Keep Online Sports Betting Bill Alive

With just a month remaining of the current legislative session, earlier this week, a special two-minute meeting was held by Mississippi’s senate gaming committee in order to keep a bill alive that would legalize mobile sports betting in the state.

Committee chairman David Blount said that people have been discussing Mississippi sports betting bill HB 774 in order to try to reach agreement over various issues. The committee approved a strike-all bill, which updated the bill with codes used in the house without changing the text in order to keep it alive.

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The Mississippi state legislature will be in session until 5 May. HB 774 passed the house at the start of February and was sent to the Senate on 4 February before being assigned to the gaming committee on 27 February.

Tuesday, 2 April was the last day on which the committee could pass out a bill that did not come from its chamber, and next Thursday, 11 April, is the final day on which the full senate can act on non-revenue bills that came from the house.

Related: Mississippi Sees Drop in Sports Betting Handle and Revenue in February

Delays Following Rapid Acceptance of Sports Betting

After the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was struck down in May 2018, Mississippi was amongst the first states to allow sports betting. However, since then, lawmakers have been at a stalemate in regard to online betting.

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At present, it is possible to place sports bets at retail sportsbooks and some offer on-site mobile betting so that customers can place bets from anywhere at brick-and-mortar casinos, such as at the pool, in a restaurant, or in a hotel room.

Blount said that he does not know the details of the negotiations over the bill despite the fact that it has bipartisan support in the House. However, the latest version of the bill allows for 26 licenses each of which would be linked to one of the state’s commercial casinos. It contains a sliding scale for tax revenue, so those doing less business would pay less tax, and the maximum tax rate is 12%.

Mississippi Falling Behind

The Mississippi sports betting market opened on 1 August 2018 and it was the only state in the region with legal live sports betting. However, since then Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee have legalized betting and all three states also allow online betting.

From Mississippi’s border states, only Alabama does not have legal sports betting, a fact that does not look likely to change in the foreseeable future.

RELATED TOPICS: Regulation

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