The Mississippi House of Representatives has passed a new bill that will propose legalising online sports wagering in the Magnolia State.
House Bill 774 would extend the current Mississippi sports betting market to also allow for online wagering. At present, players can only wager at retail facilities at land-based casinos, under laws passed in 2018.
Backed by eight state representatives as sponsors, HB774 entered into the House earlier this week. The bill was approved by a vote of 98-14 and will now move to the Senate.
Key language in the bill includes all 26 land-based casinos in Mississippi being permitted to launch online sports betting. Casinos will only be able to partner with one licensed platform to offer wagering; this would be in addition to any existing retail sportsbook.
The bill did not reference an application fee for licences. However, it did state the renewal fee for a manufacturer’s licence would be $1,000 and a seller’s or distributor’s licence $500.
Tiered tax structure for licensees
In terms of tax, this would be applied in a tiered structure related to the gross revenue of each licensee. Those with online sports betting revenue of less than $50,000 per month would pay tax at the lowest rate of 4%.
This rate will increase to 6% for operators posting between $50,000 and $134,000. For any licensee generating more than this, they will pay at a rate of 8%.
Players must be at least 21 to wager and will be able to place bets from anywhere inside Mississippi.
Should the bill pass through the Senate and into law, it would come into effect on 1 July this year.
Online betting legalisation race heating up in Mississippi
The sudden deluge of bills follows HB606, a bill that was signed into law last year. This authorised a Mississippi sports betting task force to “undertake a comprehensive analysis” of sports betting in the state.
Initially the bill was more expansive, aiming to allow each land-based casino to partner with an online sportsbook. However, its reach was significantly cut down in committee.
HB774 seemingly goes against this by proposing allowing all casinos to offer online betting.
Mississippi is almost entirely surrounded by states offering legal online wagering. Tennessee launched its market in 2020, with Arkansas and Louisiana going live in 2022. Alabama is the only neighbouring state without a legal online market.