Mississippi Legislators, Casino Stakeholders Wary Of iCasino

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Mississippi Legislators, Casino Stakeholders Wary Of iCasino

A Mississippi mobile sports betting task force met last week to consider the potential effects of legalizing online sports betting in the state. The topic of online casino legalization also came up, but it doesn’t seem like state legislators are close to legalizing that gambling option.

PENN Entertainment’s Jason Tosches, the company’s director of public affairs and government relations, said during the task force meeting that PENN is against lumping iCasino legislation into an online sports betting bill. 

“While we support iCasino for all the same reasons that we’re advocating for online sports betting, I want to be clear that we are not advocating for iCasino to be put in this online sports betting legislation,” Tosches said. “I think we have broad alignment on that point across maybe all or a significant majority of Mississippi’s casinos. I don’t necessarily think that would be helpful to getting online sports betting.”

Mississippi currently allows for retail sports betting, and the state also has regulated brick-and-mortar casinos. Any 2024 mobile sports betting legislation would likely include tethering of online licenses to retail casino locations. 

Cannibalization fears

During last week’s meeting, some casino representatives across the state shared worries that mobile sports betting could cut into the state’s retail sports wagering business. Those fears aren’t backed up by concrete evidence that mobile betting meaningfully cuts into a retail betting business, but casino representatives still voiced their concerns. 

Given the expressed fear of losing out on sports wagering business, there’s reason to believe some of the state’s casino representatives share similar worries about the possible loss of revenue should the state legalize mobile casino apps. Much like sports betting, data from other states suggests online casino legalization doesn’t actually diminish the revenue generation of brick-and-mortar facilities.

While Mississippi legislators seem interested in moving toward legalized online sports wagering, that same appetite hasn’t been vocalized when it comes to mobile casino legalization.

Currently, legal online casino gaming is only operational in six states:

  • Delaware

Rhode Island recently legalized online casino gaming, and platforms are expected to launch in the state in March.