Gaming tax revenues in Mississippi are up nearly 6 percent in 2019 compared to the same time period last year thanks to legalized sports betting in the state, according to the Mississippi Center for Public Policy.
The Mississippi Department of Revenue has moved more than $88 million of tax revenue from legal sports betting during the 2019 fiscal year. That is an increase of more than $6.4 million from the same period in 2018, a 5.762 percent increase. The MDR begins a new fiscal year July 2.
According to the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, $169 million stemming from total tax revenue related to gaming during the 2019 fiscal year was contributed toward local municipals and a fund started for improvements to roads and bridges. The tally is a $9.2 million increase from the previous fiscal year.
Revenues from the state’s casinos as a whole had shown little growth since 2016, but this year there has been considerable growth, according to the Mississippi Center for Public Policy.
Mississippi’s casinos have seen a 5.71 percent revenue increase in 2019, the first full year of legal sports betting in the Magnolia State. Mississippi didn’t capitalize on the legal sports betting boon during its 2018 fiscal year.
As in many other states with legal sports betting, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament spurred a rise in the amount wagered in Mississippi’s 27 sportsbooks. Those sportsbooks collectively made $2.5 million in taxable revenue off $32.5 million wagered on sports in March, according to the Mississippi Gaming Commission’s monthly report.
Much of that $32.5 million was wagered during March Madness, the most lucrative sports betting event in the United States. There was $24,971,956.37 wagered in Mississippi on the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
In February, Mississippi brought in $2.75 million in taxable revenue off $25.1 million wagered on sports.
Sports betting became legal in Mississippi last August, months after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a federal ban on sports wagering outside of Nevada. That ruling, overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, created a proliferation of states introducing legislation to legalize sports wagering.
Mississippi is one of seven states to open operational sportsbooks since PASPA was struck down, joining Delaware, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. In 2019, Iowa, Indiana and Montana are a governor’s signature away from having legal sports betting after measures passed their respective legislatures.
Mississippi has restrictions pertaining to online gaming. So unlike Nevada and New Jersey, where online wagering is more accessible and has significantly helped generate more revenue, Mississippi is limited in mobile or online sports betting revenues.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission only permits online wagering at licensed casinos. Two bills introduced during the 2019 legislative session that would’ve authorized mobile wagering failed to advance out of committee before the session concluded April 7.