Mississippi Committee Fails to Pass Sports Betting Resolution

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting
Mississippi Committee Fails to Pass Sports Betting Resolution


  • The Senate removed all sports betting language from a House Bill
  • HB 774 would have created an estimated $25 million in annual tax revenue
  • Mississippi casinos made roughly $2.5 billion in revenue in 2023

The fight to legalize Mississippi online sports betting took a potentially fatal hit Monday when the state Congress failed to agree on a compromise before its deadline.

House Bill 774 was up for review by both chambers, which had until 8:00 p.m. local time to file a report outlining a resolution. Officials met and negotiated with one another but could not agree upon the final terms of a compromise by the time the deadline hit, meaning that lawmakers are essentially back to square one.

Senate Gaming Committee Chairman David Blount (D-Jackson) said that one of the main reasons a resolution was not reached was because of fear that mobile sports betting would take money out of local casinos. 

Disagreement between chambers

HB 774, sponsored by Rep. Casey Eure (R-116), was written to allow all 26 Mississippi casinos to partner with one online operator with no limit on how many casino partners an operator could sign. That means that anywhere from 1-26 sportsbook companies could have entered the state market if they achieved licensing.

The bills passed a House vote 97-14 on Feb. 1. But underwent major changes in the Senate, where it was stripped of all sports betting verbiage.

Senators then voted 36-15 in favor of a reconsideration motion, which set the bill up to go to a conference committee. These committees are formed with both Senators and Representatives when one chamber does not agree with the other’s proposed changes to a bill.

Conferees met informally last week and reportedly shared more ideas on the proposals than first expected. However, their failure to file a resolution means that bills will need to be reintroduced in the respective chambers before the end of the legislative session on May 5, just a few days away.

“We had more serious discussions than we've had in the past this year," Blount said. "There are still disagreements among the different casino operators about the bill's effect on bricks and mortar casinos and jobs. We believe it needs further study.”

The House estimated that its version of the bill would create up to $25 million in annual tax funding. Plans were written to allocate those funds to repairing bridges, highways, and other pieces of the state’s infrastructure.

Mississippi was the only state with a nominal GDP per capita below $50,000 in 2023, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Its $49,911 was nearly 12 percent lower than the second-lowest state (West Virginia - $49,911) and just 45.1 percent of the highest state (New York - $110,781).

The Mississippi gaming market

Although Mississppi’s congress seemingly failed to get sports betting legislation over the line, it is not opposed to future changes.

“The thing that is different about Mississippi is we have an established casino industry that employs tens of thousands of people," Blount said. "The bill that passed the House would have allowed for iGaming, which is to say not just sports betting, but also gambling on your phone, poker, slot machines on the casino property.

“I think that's a mistake, and I don't agree with that,” Blount continued. “I think if we narrow the scope to sports betting, and we deal with some consumer protections, provisions that were not addressed in the bill, that we can work on a bill again next year.”

Mississippi was one of the first states to legalize retail sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PAPSA). However, it is still yet to legalize online betting sites, despite the trends and growing popularity within the industry.

Local casinos reported nearly $2.5 billion in gross gaming revenue during 2023.

Mississippi does not have any professional sports teams for bettors to wager on but is part of a rich region of collegiate athletics. The Southeastern Conference teams in particular, namely Ole Miss and Mississippi State, are huge draws for locals.

State law allows locals to bet on in-state colleges and universities, whereas many other states with legal sports betting do not. However, Mississippi does not allow college player prop or live betting.