The Mississippi House has approved a bill that could lead to the legalization of online sports betting in the state. The bill, known as The Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act, passed with 97-14 votes in favor of legalization. This move brings Mississippi one step closer to joining the 29 other US states where online sports betting is already legal.
Casey Eure, a Republican Representative and the prime sponsor of the bill, presented the plan to lawmakers, highlighting the potential for significant tax revenue from online sports betting. Eure stated that online sports betting could bring in about $25-35 million in tax revenue annually for the state. He also pointed out that Mississippi is missing out on an opportunity to add significant funds to the state’s coffers, as the illegal sports betting market in the state generates about $3 billion annually.
Initially, the bill proposed a 12% tax rate on online sports betting, with 8% going to the state and the remaining 4% to the localities where the casino is located. However, after a revision, the decision was made to allocate the entire 12% to repairs for emergency roads and bridges.
However, concerns and doubts remain. Robert Johnson, a House Democratic Leader, expressed concerns about potential partnerships in the industry. He proposed an amendment to ensure that all casinos, including small ones, would receive a share of the revenue. Johnson’s amendment was not approved by the Republicans, but he remains positive that mobile sports betting will be legalized soon.
The next step towards legalization is sending the bill to the Mississippi State Senate for approval. If it passes the Senate, Mississippi will join the growing number of states in the US where online sports betting is legal. This move could have significant impacts on the state’s economy and provide a much-needed source of revenue.