For the first time in 26 years of allowing the first ever legal bet of any kind, the state of Mississippi has become the fourth state in the country to allow sports betting.
“Now I can start betting legally instead of using a bookie,” said Ricky Henrad as he stood in line at the Gold Strike Casino with his wife to place a $1,000 bet on Chicago Cubs to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates, according to Mark Giannotto of Commercial Appeal.
In Biloxi, Mississippi, the Gold Strike as well one of its “sister” casinos held a press conference to talk of their success as the first casino to open sportsbook in the state.
Notable figures such as a former Mississippi Gaming Commission chairman and former Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Stanley Morgan outside of Tunica to cast the first bets.
After that, people were free to make any kind of bet from futures bets (betting on an event outcome that will happen in the future) or even a baseball game, like Henrad did, that same evening.
Commercial Appeal, caught up with local residents who have dealt with local bookies in the past. For example, Thomas Whitehead, a Memphis resident, talked about how his grandmother used to place wagers on the New Orleans Saints and Notre Dame with a bookie by the name of “Rat”.
Sounds casual, right?
It’s been part of the fabric of this area, and now it’s just more out in the open with this,” he said. It’s something we’ve been clamoring for in the area for awhile.”
David Tsai, COO of the Gold Strike Casino said this casino will be “the same as we offer in Las Vegas.”
However, Tunica isn’t Vegas. In fact, the sportsbook at Gold Strike was put in to a pre-existing restaurant.
While customers can only bet in-person for the time being, soon they will be able to do so online. Tsai mentioned that they will have a more permanent location for its sportsbook, but they had just 60 days to pull everything together.
The state of Mississippi passed sports gambling back in 2017 in the event PASPA was struck down.
Neighboring states such as Tennessee haven’t allowed sports gambling in the state aside from the state lottery and fantasy sports and doesn’t appear to be doing so any time soon.
According to a study by Oxford Economics, conducted for the American Gaming Association, estimated that sports betting could generate $41.2 billion and result in about $3.4 million in taxes to local governments.
Also, according to Action Network, a casino in Mississippi will now become the closest venue to place a legal sports bet for 22 of the country’s 50 biggest cities.
As Cedric Burnett, a Mississippi state representative from Tunica said, “It’s a product no one else in the region has and it’s only a positive when you have a product no one else has.”