Home » Mississippi Legislature kills mobile sports betting bill Monday

Mississippi Legislature kills mobile sports betting bill Monday


Blount says work on legislation could be rehashed in 2025

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It looks like Mississippians won’t have the chance to make legal mobile online sports bets for at least another year.

On Monday night, Mississippi Senate and House lawmakers negotiating a compromise on House Bill 774, could not reach an agreement on the best path forward for mobile sports betting in Mississippi. They had until Monday at 8 p.m. to file a report with the Legislature detailing that compromise.

Senate Gaming Committee Chairman and negotiator David Blount, D-Jackson, told the Clarion ledger there were concerns from several industry players that casinos could end up losing money or be negatively impacted by people making sports bets from their phones.

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“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.”

HB 774 first passed through the House 97-14 Feb. 1. At the time, House lawmakers estimated the state would benefit with up to $25 million in tax revenues that would go to repairing bridges, roads, highways and other infrastructure.

If it had passed, the bill would have required mobile companies to contract with brick-and-mortar gambling businesses in the state, such as casinos. Only people located in Mississippi could participate in the online wagering platforms.

The bill then sat in the Senate for two months before any action was taken, which amounted to striking all of the language from the bill and sending it to conference to keep the bill alive and continue negotiations with the House.

Although the bill died by Monday’s legislative deadline to file conference reports, Blount said he is willing to consider the legislation again next year.

“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 I-gaming, 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. I think we 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.”

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Grant McLaughlin covers state government for the Clarion Ledger. He can be reached at gmclaughlin@gannett.com or 972-571-2335.