The Mississippi Gaming Commission posted a year-on-year fall in both handle and revenue during February, while the Magnolia State also reported month-on-month declines.

Players spending on sports betting reached $31.4m (£24.6m/€28.7m) in February. This was 21.1% down from $39.8m in Mississippi last year and some 45.1% behind January’s $57.2m spend.

Inevitably, the sharp drop in revenue – both year-on-year and month-on-month – also led to a decline in revenue.

For February, revenue in Mississippi amounted to $2.3m. The Commission said this was 25.8% lower than the $3.1m reported in February 2023 and 65.7% less than $6.7m in January this year.

Coastal casinos remain popular with Mississippi players

Breaking down these figures by casino location, coastal venues remain the most popular with players when it comes to sports betting.

During February, consumers bet a total of $19.5m at coastal casinos, with a large portion of this – $10.1m – being on basketball. Casinos turned a monthly revenue of $1.0m.

Elsewhere, central casinos reported $833,042 in sports betting revenue from a total spend of $7.8m. Again, basketball proved the most popular sport to wager on, drawing $3.7m in bets.

Finally, casinos in the northern sector generated $435,989 in betting revenue from $4.1m in wagers during February. Players spent $2.1m betting in basketball at these casinos.

Online betting bill hangs in the balance

Mississippi remains a retail-only market, with players only able to bet legally with licensed, land-based sportsbooks. However, there is still a chance the state could legalise online betting in some form in the not-too-distant future.

House Bill 774 was introduced into the Mississippi House in January in the hope of doing just this. The bill would extend the current betting market to also allow for online wagering.

Stand-out features in the bill include permitting all 26 land-based casinos in Mississippi to launch online betting. Casinos would be able to partner with one licensed platform to offer wagering, in addition to any existing retail sportsbook.

However, the fate of the bill remains uncertain. It progressed through the house quickly but has been with the senate gaming committee since late February, with no further movement.

HB774 is not the only bill aiming to legalise online betting. HB271 and HB635, which have similar end goals, have also been introduced in the current legislative session.

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