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Mississippi lawmakers kill mobile sports betting bill

Mississippi lawmakers allowed a bill to die at Monday’s deadline that could have implemented mobile sports betting across the state.

The Mississippi Mobile Sports Wagering Act, which started as a full-force mobile sports gambling bill with protections set aside for casinos, was whittled down by the Senate before conferees from both chambers chose not to file a conference report as differences on both sides remained.

The House of Representatives morphed the bill into one that would let betting platforms such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM come into Mississippi as long as they contracted with one of the state’s existing casinos. That way, casinos could salvage any lost revenue from brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. The Senate Gaming Committee, led by Democrat David Blount of Jackson, decided to strike all language within the legislation, reverting the bill to existing state law which does not allow mobile sports gaming off casino premises.

Jay McDaniel, who served on a legislature-created study group a year ago on the matter and works as Mississippi’s gaming commissioner, thought enough information had already been discovered to show that mobile sports betting could drastically increase the state’s revenue from gaming.

“We would definitely see an increase in revenue just because it would reach all corners of the state,” McDaniel said in an interview earlier this session, noting that casinos are mostly on the Gulf Coast, in Tunica, and along river counties. He added that not only more Mississippians would play but the state also might see increased action from places like Alabama: “I believe we would capture some like Alabama that doesn’t have it right now legally.”

So far, 29 U.S. states have moved forward with mobile sports betting with the recent being North Carolina, where instant success was seen in large part due to March Madness. In the first week, North Carolina had $198 million come in on wagers.

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