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UPDATE: Sports betting legalized in Mississippi casinos

MGN Online

This will go into effect in 30 days for Mississippi casinos.

Posted: Jun 21, 2018 9:48 AM
Updated: Jun 21, 2018 2:34 PM

Update 06/21/18 2:30 p.m. - WLBT-TV in Jackson reports the Mississippi Gaming Commission voted to approve sports betting regulations. This will go into effect in 30 days for Mississippi casinos.

See the original post below.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi gambling regulators are set to vote Thursday on whether to approve final rules allowing sports betting, clearing the way for sports books to open in the state's 28 casinos in July.

The state Gaming Commission has placed the rules on its agenda for consideration Thursday. Commission Executive Director Allen Godfrey said commission staff will propose some slight tweaks to the rules that were published for public comment in May.

If approved, the rules would take effect in 30 days. Some sports betting service providers, though, must be licensed by the commission before betting begins. Such service providers are already applying for licenses, Godfrey said. Equipment must also be tested, with tests approved by the state.

Mississippi changed its law in 2017 to allow sports betting as part of a bill legalizing and regulating fantasy sports. The U.S. Supreme Court last month struck down a federal law that barred gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states.

Unlike in some other states, Mississippi's betting would be confined to casinos.

The state's casinos, which boomed in the 1990s, have struggled with competition as gambling has spread. Casinos hope betting could give Mississippi gambling halls a competitive edge, at least for now. Betting itself is likely to produce less than $10 million a year in tax revenue for the state, but casinos hope it will attract customers who will spend on hotel rooms, restaurants and other gambling.

Casinos would pay state and local taxes worth 12 percent of the wagers minus the payouts. Mississippi casinos could take bets on any pro, college or Olympic sport, or any other proposition approved by regulators except political elections. But the commission will be able to veto types of wagers "contrary to the public policies of the state."

Casinos could not take bets from coaches or participants, must report suspicious bets over $5,000, and cannot offer special bets or special odds to a single patron. Sports books are supposed to get detailed information on anyone betting or winning more than $10,000.

Three casinos run by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians plan their own sports books, but tribal leaders haven't said when they will start. Those casinos aren't regulated by the state, but Godfrey said he expects state and tribal rules will mesh "very closely."

Only two people wrote in opposition to the proposed rules, including Kenny Digby, the executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention's Christian Action Commission.

"Any gambling or lottery activity puts pressure on our churches and relief ministries to meet additional benevolence needs," Digby wrote. "There will always be more losers than winners, if there are any winners."

The National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and golf's PGA Tour all submitted comments seeking identical changes. They want casinos to be required "to immediately report" abnormal or suspicious bets to the relevant sports league, including bets that break the league's own rules.

"Major League Baseball's ability to identify and stop corruption is only as good as the information to which it has access," that league wrote.

The leagues also want the ability to limit certain kinds of bets, with the commission having limited power to override the league's wishes.

"As betting markets mature, sports pools are likely to offer more exotic bets, some of which may be inappropriate given the integrity concerns involved," the NBA wrote.

Baseball teams also want to exclude bets on minor league baseball teams.

"We have smaller budgets, play in smaller stadiums, and do not pay our players and umpires Major League-sized contracts," wrote representatives of Mississippi's two minor league baseball teams, the Biloxi Shuckers and Mississippi Braves. "Our game is more vulnerable to the risks associated with increased sports betting."

Godfrey said Mississippi plans to share data with sports leagues and others and had taken their concerns into account. However, he said staff members were not recommending all the changes sought by sports leagues.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15752

Reported Deaths: 739
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds100625
Lauderdale73862
Madison72423
Scott65012
Neshoba64639
Jones62928
Forrest56438
DeSoto5427
Rankin4398
Holmes42928
Leake42712
Copiah3124
Jackson30813
Attala29817
Yazoo2814
Newton2714
Leflore26431
Lincoln26329
Harrison2587
Monroe25725
Oktibbeha23912
Lamar2385
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Wayne2041
Pike20311
Adams19915
Noxubee1866
Washington1787
Warren17310
Covington1652
Jasper1634
Bolivar16211
Lee1536
Smith15211
Kemper14411
Clarke14418
Lafayette1364
Chickasaw13512
Coahoma1254
Carroll11711
Winston1171
Marion1159
Clay1124
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Tate941
Grenada943
Yalobusha935
Hancock9111
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Montgomery851
Sunflower843
Union835
Marshall833
Jefferson Davis773
Tippah7311
Panola713
Webster692
Calhoun654
Amite641
Humphreys607
Walthall560
Tunica553
Prentiss533
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Pontotoc353
Quitman330
Tishomingo320
Stone300
Franklin292
Tallahatchie271
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene131
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18075

Reported Deaths: 644
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2239116
Jefferson1837102
Montgomery171040
Tuscaloosa78315
Marshall6939
Franklin5567
Lee54833
Shelby51720
Tallapoosa42765
Butler41118
Chambers35525
Walker3542
Elmore3548
Madison3394
Baldwin2909
Morgan2801
Dallas2723
Etowah25711
DeKalb2483
Lowndes24612
Coffee2361
Sumter2247
Autauga2214
Houston2204
Bullock2095
Pike2030
Colbert1842
Hale1739
Russell1710
Marengo1706
Barbour1671
Lauderdale1642
Calhoun1603
Choctaw1538
Wilcox1487
Clarke1442
Cullman1430
Randolph1277
St. Clair1231
Marion12211
Pickens1164
Dale1150
Talladega1135
Limestone1060
Chilton1011
Greene944
Winston900
Macon824
Henry802
Covington801
Jackson782
Crenshaw753
Bibb751
Washington706
Escambia633
Blount621
Lawrence500
Geneva430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Monroe402
Perry390
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Unassigned00
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