With the latest football season underway, bettors in the Magnolia State placed $19.88 million in total sports wagers during August, which led to $2.88 million in revenue according to the latest report from the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
It’s the start of the second year of Mississippi’s sports betting market which launched Aug. 1, 2018. Bettors 21 and older can place legal sports wagers via retail sportsbooks in Mississippi casinos.
The first bets were placed in the state back then at Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Gold Strike in Tunica and IP and Sam’s Town Tunica, but after just one year on the market, the total number of casinos to offer sportsbooks in the state has grown to more than 20.
Bettors in the state, as well as those traveling from nearby Southern states without legal sports betting options, such as Alabama, Louisiana and Texas, have combined to help the Mississippi sports betting market rebound from a relatively weak July showing during what most consider the slowest time of the entire betting season.
Despite those expected dips in handle and revenue for July, Mississippi’s first year of legal sports betting was largely considered a success in that it was a profitable campaign for Mississippi and its casinos. August numbers suggest the state is headed toward another solid year.
After posting a total handle of $13.4 million and a total taxable revenue of $1.05 million in July, Mississippi sportsbooks enjoyed a 48.4% increase in handle the following month which led to a 167% increase in total taxable revenue.
The primary change found in the data suggests the start of the NFL and college football seasons were the big drivers of the soaring numbers. While the majority of monthly handle collected by bookmakers over the two months remained attributed to baseball bets with $10.16 million in July, and almost $9.3 million in August, football betting grew sharply in the state over that same timespan, from around $71,000 in July to almost $6.02 million in August.
That astronomical increase in football betting is likely just the beginning of even bigger numbers headed down the line -- especially in a state where SEC football, and teams such as the Mississippi Rebels and Mississippi State Bulldogs, enjoy top status. Just as it is across the country right now in other states with legal sports betting, Mississippi sportsbooks should enjoy similar benefits month-to-month as football season continues in full swing from now until the end of the year.
The majority of the betting action in the state came via its casino properties, primarily located along the Gulf Coast area where tourism booms for the summer. In August, those casinos reported together $13 million in handle and $1.8 million in revenue.
The overall numbers from other areas paled in comparison. Casinos in the northern region reported $4.5 million in handle and $617,582 in revenue, while the central region handled $2.4 million in bets and reported $435,785 in revenue.