The struggle to get Mississippi sports betting offered as a true statewide mobile product hasn’t gone the way advocates would have wanted in 2022.
So for now, while neighbors such as Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas offer online sports wagering, residents of the Magnolia State must go to one of 26 riverboat casinos to place their bets.
And the action followed a nationwide pattern, falling in April, though revenue did increase in a month-over-month comparison to March.
Mississippi Sports Betting Handle Decreases
April’s sports betting handle in Mississippi was $35,503,585, down 25.9% from March’s $47,889,213, according to figures reported by the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
The year-over-year comparison was more encouraging, as April’s handle rose 7.9% compared to April 2021, when the figure was $32,917,836.
The drop in handle is typical because the boost of March Madness dies down in April, with only the Final Four games on offer, and the NFL and college football seasons are a long way off. Basketball still was the top option for Mississippi bettors, with nearly $15 million in wagers.
About two-thirds of last month’s handle came from Coastal casinos, such as those in Biloxi and Gulfport. The rest came from northern and central facilities.
Mississippi Sports Betting, April vs. March
Revenue Increases Over March
April’s sports betting revenue was $4,209,290, a 4.1% rise from March’s $4,042,432). Last month’s figure was down from the $4,300,968 recorded in April 2021.
Mississippi was the first state in the Deep South to legalize wagering on sports, doing so in 2018, just months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down PASPA, the law that had prohibited sports betting (Nevada being the obvious exception). Football season always sees the highest handle and revenue figures, which not only matches the pattern in other states but makes even more sense in the pigskin-crazy Deep South.
The only way to place online sports bets in Mississippi is from inside either the Gold Strike Casino in Tunica or the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi.
Casino Gaming Down Slightly
As for casino gaming, April saw a bit of a dip compared to March.
The drop (or handle) on slot machines statewide was $2.355 billion last month, down 4.1% from March ($2.456 billion).
The drop at table games was down 2.5% month-over-month, from $177.91 million in March to $173.42 million.
Mississippi legalized gambling at casinos in 1990, with the first water-based casino, The Isle of Capri, opening in 1992.