Gambling in Mississippi
When discussing gambling in Mississippi, our minds wander to romantic black-and-white images of steam-powered riverboat casinos, card sharps, cheats and professional gamblers.
Despite past lean pickings for gamblers (No state lottery, horse racing, online gambling – including sports betting online, or social gambling) Mississippi now offers its residents;
- Legalized Mississippi Sports Betting (Since August 1 2018) – Mississippi is the only U.S. state other than Nevada to have legalized single-game wagering. Gambling overall is limited to water-and-land-based casinos in Mississippi, and also extends to sports betting.
- Casino gambling is a major industry in Mississippi at over 30 land-based and (now-docked) riverboat-casinos.
- Poker Rooms in all casinos.
- Fantasy sports games online i.e. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS).
- Charitable Gaming.
Mississippi Gambling Age
The Legal Age for ALL forms of gambling in Mississippi is 21 (*with the exception of 18 for Daily Fantasy Sports).
Mississippi Gambling Tax
Mississippi’s State Gambling Tax is one of the lowest in the nation at 3% on general winnings and 8% for sports betting winnings.
Mississippi Sports Betting Legislation
We’re now pleased to advise that the answer to everyone’s first question; ‘is sports betting legal in Mississippi?’, is now an emphatic ‘Yes!’
Within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court voting to legalize sports betting in the USA on May 2018, the Mississippi Gaming Commission immediately released draft regulations to govern sports betting. After a 30-day review period, those regulations went into effect and licensed gaming operators began applying to offer sports betting.
Regulators spent the next few weeks preparing for the launch of sports betting and the first sports wagers in Mississippi history were placed on August 1, 2018 in 5 of the state’s casinos.
Once the law is totally rolled out, all of Mississippi’s 30 riverboat and land-based casino properties under the purview of the state’s gaming commission will be able to offer sportsbooks that are all expected to be approved for sports betting.
To date, none of the casinos applied to run mobile online sports betting on cell phones or other mobile devices. When (and if) they do, mobile sports betting is expected to be restricted to inside casino grounds.
Sports Betting Online
As online gambling legislation is currently written and applied in Mississippi, current laws limit gambling to those physically present in a licensed casino.
Electronic sports betting is permissible under the law, but only if conducted on-site. No mobile or online wagering can take place off the grounds of a casino.
However, DFS sites are all open to accept online players from the state of Mississippi.
Casino gambling is a major industry for the state of Mississippi and a big generator of income to help pay for government infrastructure and services for the state’s citizens.
In answering the question, ‘is gambling legal in Mississippi?’, Mississippi’s state lawmakers in 1990 bowed to people pressure from the Mississippi citizens residents and thereby legalized casino gambling along the Mississippi River and on the Gulf Coast.
In approximately only one generation, the Mississippi town of Tunica has emerged as the third-largest gambling region in the country, and is quickly gaining on Atlantic City for the number two spot in the United States (behind Las Vegas of course). The State coffers of Mississippi earn an estimated $500,000 a day in revenue from the state’s casino operations alone.
Mississippi Land-based & Water-based Casinos
Mississippi has 30 casinos, including land-based (both Tribal and Commercial Casinos) and now docked, riverboat casinos. You’ll find more than 39 000 slots and gaming machines at Mississippi’s casinos and there is a total of more than 1050 table games. According to our intensive research, the minimum bet we’ve located at casinos in Mississippi is $0.01 and the maximum bet is a whopping $10,000.
The law governing online casinos in Mississippi is as murky as the state’s great river. As far as we can ascertain, online gambling is illegal in the state of Mississippi. There is no specific law the state has written to ban online casinos. However, online gambling is implicitly illegal. What that basically means is that the law implies that online casinos are unlawful without coming right out and saying so directly. Remember, throughout most of the United States, if the gambling practice (including online casinos) is unregulated, it is best and safest to assume that it is deemed illegal by relevant State and Federal authorities.
This charge has been applied in some other US states to prosecute gamblers when no other charge existed to cover the game they were playing.
Our advice to people who live in or visit Mississippi is simple: Obey all gambling laws and for the time being at least, don’t use online casinos (US-based or Offshore) within the state of Mississippi.
Conversely and painting a positive picture on the future of online gambling and online casinos in Mississippi, if no law currently exists, it may be simple in the future for Mississippi State Legislators to add an online casino legalization without being required to ‘undo’ an existing law.
As soon as we hear a positive outcome or otherwise on the future of online casinos in Mississippi, we’ll let you know.
Horse Racing Betting in Mississippi
As yet, the first legal bets on horse racing have yet to be placed.
Legal experts are anticipating that the first legalized bets on horse racing in Mississippi could be placed in the coming months.
Track Side / OTB: Once betting on horse racing is fully legalized, it is anticipated that (as with sports betting) that the casinos of Mississippi will effectively become the state’s operating OTB’s. There are no horse or greyhound tracks in the state of Mississippi.
Betting on Horse Racing Online: It is unclear at this stage if Online Betting on Horse Racing will be added to the suite of legal gambling products in Mississippi. We will watch the situation unfold and update you accordingly.
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Betting Laws in Mississippi
Fantasy sports betting has long been considered to be exempt from any form of U.S. federal legislation as it has been assessed to be widely considered a contest of skill, not a gambling game of chance.
Some U.S. states prohibit fantasy sports, however, Mississippi never moved to put an end to the popular DFS competitions. Quite conversely as a matter of fact, for in 2017, Mississippi State Legislators passed legislation to formally legalize, recognize and regulate fantasy sports as ‘contests of skill not chance’.
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sites must be licensed to operate in Mississippi and are subject to numerous consumer protection regulations. Requirements include;
- All sites be licensed,
- Players must be over 18 years of age
- DFS sites cannot offer fantasy contests based on collegiate level sports events or any other youth sports matches for residents or citizens of Mississippi. (Unlike other states that have a specific ban on all amateur sports, Olympic sports are permissible for DFS competitions under Mississippi law.)
- DFS site employees are ineligible to play in Mississippi.
- All DFS sites must be subject to independent audits and take steps to prevent problem gambling occurring as well as offering advice and assistance if/when it does occur
- that they keep players’ funds in a separate account from operator funds (in order to protect customers’ deposits).
Online Players had been able to play DFS online in Mississippi for years prior to the 2017 legislation and little has altered now for the players. The biggest DFS sites are all currently authorized to continue holding real money contests in Mississippi.
How DFS works
Fantasy sports betting is a different creature to traditional sports wagering, and DFS is a completely different form of sports betting. Betting on your favorite teams to win and/or lose plays no part whatsoever.
In DFS betting, you essentially become a ‘virtual team manager or owner’, and are thereby required to keep within a ‘virtual’ salary cap, which you use to ‘buy’ players for your DFS team.
Overbudget teams may not be registered for DFS competitions and when attempting to lodge an overbudget team, the system will generate an ‘error’ message.
Whilst staying within your set budget, let’s use the example of an NFL DFS league for example;
The theory is to assemble a team that amasses the most touchdowns, yards gained, receptions, tackles, sacks etc., and other key statistics each week or over the course of the season. Those stats are translated into ‘points’ for your team.
Participants can choose a new fantasy NFL team each week: investing a fixed amount of (imaginary) money, spending from that budget on, tight ends, wide receivers, special teams, quarterbacks, punt returners, defensive linemen etc. Each player has their own individual price tag determined by the fantasy sports operators, and those price tags are usually determined by player performance throughout their individual careers and the current season.
For example, a superstar quarterback like Tom Brady of the New England Patriots will potentially cost a lot more than a struggling Jacoby Brissett of the Indianapolis Colts.
‘Paying’ more for a superstar QB like Brady, can potentially leave a DFS contestant with less remaining in their virtual budget to spend on other quality players for their fantasy team.
Usually, champion DFS players are superb ‘budget balancers’ and can squeeze the most points out of every penny that they ‘spend’.
Major U.S. sporting leagues all have DFS leagues running throughout the regular season and play-offs.
Huge prizes of more than $1 million per week, per league can potentially paid out to winners of each week’s competition.
Poker Laws in Mississippi
There are no establishments in Mississippi that specifically run Poker games, however, legal Poker is carried out in Mississippi through the state’s 30 legal Casinos. There are over 100 Live Poker tables available for play throughout the state.
Online Poker in Mississippi
No online poker is available in Mississippi – See above section regarding online casinos in Mississippi for full details.
eSports Betting in Mississippi
As part of the suite of sports now legal for betting in Mississippi since August 1 2018, eSports is one of the latest and greatest ways to help turn a win at the state’s legal sportsbooks.
eSports has basically turned professional video game playing at the very highest level into a full-fledged professional sport. Rarely played at an individual level, it’s most played by teams across different leagues and tournaments.
The electronic games themselves are like different sports types, in some ways. For example, in eSports, League of Legends and Fortnite, are equivalent to football and baseball. In other words, eSports is the overall concept (like Sports), while the different game types are similar to the individual types of sports.
Betting on eSports continues to gain in popularity each year, with an increasing number of sportsbooks now offering a range of betting markets across all major eSports tournaments. In some U.S. states, it is eSports that is driving the change to sports betting legalization through legislation.
Look for eSports betting at your favorite Mississippi sportsbook.
History of gambling in Mississippi
1790’s – Before the creation of the State of Mississippi, racetracks were established on the territory by the early French settlers in the region.
1800’s – River Boat Casino heydays with hundreds of Paddle Steamer Casino on the Mississippi River until the beginning of the Civil War.
1938 – Pinball Gaming and Slots Outlawed in Mississippi.
1990 – The Mississippi Gaming Control Act came into effect with River Boat Casino Gambling legalized on counties next to the coast or river.
1992 – Charitable Gaming Legalized on a limited basis.
2012 – Online Poker Bill overturned by Mississippi State Legislature.
2017 – Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Betting Legalized by Mississippi State Legislature.
2018 – Sports Betting Legalized at Mississippi Casinos.
2019? – Online Casinos Legalized on the back of a successful implementation of Mississippi Sports Betting?