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Mississippi casinos could add $34 million in revenue annually from sports betting

TOTAL: Tax revenues from Mississippi casinos have fallen since 2008. Graph by Steve Wilson

According to analysis of data from Nevada and Mississippi, casinos in the Magnolia State could add $34 million annually to revenues with sports betting.

Using annual casino revenues and associated tax data from the Mississippi Gaming Commission, the boost for state and local coffers could add up to $4 million or more annually.

While that's a conservative estimate, sports betting revenue in Nevada has increased 40 percent from $150 million to $210 million in only a decade. With legislatures in surrounding states waiting on the sidelines, Mississippi could be poised to exploit the regional market in an area obsessed with college football.

To calculate Mississippi's possible windfall from sports betting, it is necessary to look at the numbers for Nevada. It was the only state where sports gaming was legal according to a federal law that was struck down by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Murphy vs. National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Nevada's gaming revenues dwarf Mississippi's. In 2017, casinos in the Silver State earned $11 billion in revenue. Mississippi casinos earned slightly more than $2 billion in 2017.

Of that $11 billion, only $210 million in revenue came from sports betting. That's 1.9 percent of all revenues. The majority of revenue, 66 percent, was from coin-operated devices such as slot machines. As a percentage of total casino revenues, sports betting has increased every year in Nevada. In 2008, sports betting was only 1.2 percent of all casino proceeds. That jumped up to 1.9 percent in 2016.

Assuming that Mississippi casinos would have the same share of revenue from sports books that Nevada casinos would, that'd be an additional $34 million on average in revenue.

TOTAL: Tax revenues from Mississippi casinos have fallen since 2008. Graph by Steve Wilson

TOTAL: Tax revenues from Mississippi casinos have fallen since 2008. Graph by Steve Wilson

In 2016, Mississippi temporarily legalized daily fantasy sports and created a study commission. The Legislature approved permanent legislation in 2017 that not only set guidelines for the Gaming Commission to regulate daily fantasy sports, but also struck language from state law that prohibited betting on sports.

According to regulations proposed by the Mississippi Gaming Commission, sports betting will only be allowed in casinos presently holding a license and only on mobile devices inside the casino property. Wagers will only be allowed on casino property.

This differs from Nevada, where players can set up an account at a casino and wager anywhere in the state.

The commission is in the midst of a public comment period on the regulations and could vote on them as soon as their next meeting on June 21.

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