The current sports betting rules in Mississippi explained

Find out “The current sports betting rules in Mississippi explained” Ever since the US Supreme Court reversed the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, US states have been legalizing sports betting. However, as it is up to each individual state to choose whether or not to legalize gambling and betting, things are happening at different rates. In 2023, gambling (in a variety of forms) is legal in more than 30 US states. But what about Mississippi? In this article, we’ll tell you all about the current state of affairs with regard to sports betting in the Magnolia State.

The current sports betting rules in Mississippi explained | Stock Photo, Image
The current sports betting rules in Mississippi explained | Stock Photo

As it stands, sports betting is legal in Mississippi. This doesn’t mean you can go and use any old sports betting site, however. Here’s a little bit of history about sports betting in Mississippi.

Mississippi is a well-known state as far as gambling is concerned. Granted, it’s not as well-known as New Jersey or Nevada, but it still has a popular gambling scene. It is home to gambling locations such as Biloxi, Tunica and even Vicksburg and Greenville. People have long thought of these areas as vacation destinations with gambling thrown in.

Gambling first appeared in Mississippi in the 19th century, before the Civil War (although there was unregulated gambling here before that). There was a time when the state’s coastline became a hotbed of vacationers traveling from the likes of Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Around this time, there was a lot of unregulated gambling because it wasn’t explicitly legal. However, due to its contribution to the growth of the area, a blind eye was turned.

After the Civil War, when people resumed taking vacations, gambling was once again reestablished. This was also helped by the region having access to railroads.

It wasn’t until around 1939 that the first real casino opened. This was in Biloxi, at the Broadwater Beach Resort. At the time, the legality of it was still a gray area, and crackdowns in the 1950s and the Civil Rights era meant it didn’t last very long. Gambling in casinos was effectively outlawed but it continued to happen as a sort of “black market”.

In 1990, the Mississippi Gaming Control Act was introduced. This meant that two new casino districts were built – one in Tunica and another in Biloxi. However, only casino gambling was allowed. Sports betting was still missing from the gambling scene.

When HB 967 – the Fantasy Contact Act – was passed in 2017, lawmakers began legalizing sports betting in the state. Once PASPA was overturned in 2018, the first legal sports wagers were made at Tunica’s Gold Strike and Biloxi’s Beau Rivage on August 1 of that year.

Although sports betting is now legal, it remains heavily regulated. To bet on sports in Mississippi, you must be at a licensed casino.

Who can bet on sports in Mississippi?

Betting is legal for anyone who is 21 years old or older in Mississippi. This applies to sports betting online or in person. However, if you choose to wager online, you can only do so from within a licensed retail establishment. This works by geolocation – when you go to a casino, you can download their sportsbook app to place legal bets on sports. Once you leave the casino, you will no longer be able to bet, as your phone’s internal chip will know you are no longer situated within the perimeter of the licensed establishment.

How to start betting in Mississippi

Unfortunately, there are few options when it comes to starting betting here. However, this is at least better than in some states where sports betting remains illegal. To start betting, you’ll need to visit a resort like Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Gold Strike in Tunica or Bally’s in Vicksburg.

Depending on where you go, you’ll need a different app to bet with. For example, if you visit Gold Strike or Beau Rivage, you can use the onsite BetMGM Sports app. However, at Bally’s Vicksburg, you’ll need to bet online with Bally’s. Some casinos, such as Bok Homa Casino, a tribal casino in Sandersville, have their own apps too.

Quick facts: Mississippi sports betting

Many people find understanding sports betting in Mississippi confusing, so we’ve compiled a list of quick facts to summarize things:

  • You can use online sportsbooks only at licensed physical casinos in Mississippi.
  • You must be at least 21 years of age.
  • You can download sportsbooks apps offsite, but you cannot use them until you’re on the premises – geolocation technology means they won’t work even if you try.
  • You can bet on college sports. This includes D1 programs.
  • There are no bet limits for a single event or game.
  • Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of the Gulf Coast region in 2005 but it has now been rebuilt. Casinos are allowed to be built within 800m of the shore.
  • You are not allowed to wager on high school sports.
  • The first casinos in the state were riverboat casinos that floated from Iowa into Mississippi.
  • The Mississippi Gulf Coast region is the third-largest market for casino gambling in the nation.
  • Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) have been legal since 2017.
  • The most popular football team to bet on in the state is the Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi Rebels team). The Mississippi State Bulldogs are also popular.

Even though you can use online sportsbooks in Mississippi, the rules around which ones and where they can be used are strict. The only well-known online sportsbook around is BetMGM, but you can only use this when you’re on site at Gold Strike or Beau Rivage. The Pearl River Resort also has sports betting options while you’re on site but for this, you use the Pearl River Sports app. There are three casinos where this is possible: Silver Star, Golden Moon and Bok Homa. These are all within the Pearl River Resort.

Since the number of online sportsbooks isn’t great in Mississippi, many people go to casinos within the state that have retail sportsbooks. There are 29 of them that offer in-person betting, compared to the few that have sportsbook apps. If you have to be on site to use a sportsbook app anyway, you may as well visit a physical sportsbook!

However, when you use a retail sportsbook, you’ll usually be using an unbranded one. Here are some locations you can head to for in-person sports betting in Mississippi:

  • Bay St. Louis – Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast.
  • Biloxi – Beau Rivage (BetMGM), Boomtown Casino, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s Gulf Coast (Caesars), Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, IP Casino Resort Spa (FanDuel), Palace Casino Resort, Treasure Bay Casino.
  • D’Iberville – Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort (DraftKings).
  • Greenville – Harlow’s Casino Resort & Spa (TwinSpires), Tropicana Casino Greenville.
  • Gulfport – Island View Casino Resort.
  • Lakeshore – Silver Slipper Casino.
  • Lula – Magnolia Bluffs Casino.
  • Natchez – Isle of Capri Casino Entertainment Resort (Caesars).
  • Philadelphia – Golden Moon Casino, Silver Star Casino.
  • Sandersville – Bok Homa Casino.
  • Tunica Resorts – 1st Jackpot Casino, Fitz Casino Hotel Tunica, Gold Strike Casino Resort, Hollywood Casino Tunica, Horseshoe Casino and Hotel (Caesars), Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall (FanDuel).
  • Vicksburg – Ameristar Casino Hotel, Bally’s Vicksburg, Riverwalk Casino and Hotel (TwinSpires), WaterView Casino & Hotel.