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Mississippi Panel Examines Expansion of Mobile Sports Betting

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A panel of lawmakers in Mississippi is investigating the different issues involved in expanding mobile sports betting. They plan to present their findings on December 15 and will meet prior to that on November 13.

Several Factors under Consideration

The topic of extending mobile sports gambling beyond Mississippi's casinos was the main focus at the Mobile Online Betting Task Force's second meeting on October 24.

Jay McDaniel, the executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, spoke to the legislators. He emphasized important issues that need to be considered together with potential legislation. These include setting the right tax rate, determining how the money will be distributed, and considering a local opt-out provision similar to current alcohol sales rules.

McDaniel also stressed the need for stronger penalties to keep illegal operators at bay. He introduced the idea of geofencing technology to set geographic limits for mobile betting to help with regulatory compliance.

Mississippi Sports Betting Hits Record Numbers

In September 2023, the total amount bet on sports in Mississippi was over $50 billion, with football as the top choice among bettors. Coastal Mississippi contributed $33,494,794 to this total. However, taxable revenue dropped to $8,144,027 million compared to the previous year. Basketball and baseball also drew large bets, and parlay cards remained popular across different parts of the state.

PENN Entertainment Calls for Gaming Expansion

Jason Tosches, Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations at PENN Entertainment, spoke positively about the potential for online gaming expansion. He talked about how it could benefit the state's gaming sector, increase tax revenue, and ensure safe betting practices.

Tosches also noted that 29 states already allow online gaming, putting Mississippi at a disadvantage. Currently, Mississippi casinos allow only in-person sports betting, limiting potential revenue.

Representing the National Council of Legislators From Gaming States, Shawn Fluharty from West Virginia underscored the need to move towards mobile gaming. He brought up data showing a major shift from traditional betting outlets to online platforms in recent years. Citing Louisiana's experience, he said that 85% of sports bets have moved to mobile platforms, just below the national average of 93%. Fluharty emphasized the need for gambling regulations, warning about risks such as market manipulation that can harm consumers.

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