Mississippi has been building its Vegas casino industry for almost 3 decades, making it an attractive tourist destination for area travelers. The state legalized casinos in riverside and coastal counties where the residents of those counties agreed to host the casinos. Today Mississippi hosts multiple casino venues, both small and large, as well as sports betting operations and Vegas online entertainment.
Mississippi’s Gaming Control Act of 1990 legalized casino games in tribal casinos and on riverboat casinos, live poker, lottery betting and bingo games. Mississippi’s legislature added sports betting to its list of sanctioned gambling activities after the US Supreme Court ruled, in May of this year, that states could legalize the activity in their state.
There’s been quite a bit of activity on the gaming front in Mississippi lately. Some highlights are:
First Sports Betting Kiosks open in Mississippi
SB Tech is beginning top operate the first Mississippi sports betting kiosks at the Churchill Downs and Golden Nugget Casinos. The addition of the Golden Nugget and the Churchill Downs means that the SB Tech now has sports betting operations up and running at 3 locations in Mississippi.
SBTech is recognized as a provider of self-service betting kiosks. Its Golden Nugget and Churchill downs kiosks are the first self-service betting kiosks in Mississippi. Ian Williams, President of Churchill Downs Online Gaming said “We are delighted with the launch and the superior technology and product offering our kiosks deliver. Our players have really taken to the range of markets offered and the ease of use of the wagering machines. As College football starts this weekend, we anticipate that our players will take full advantage of the unique Cash Out feature, which allows players to claim their winnings while bets are still live.”
MGM Announces Plans to Enter the Mississippi Sports Betting Market
MGM announced that two of their Mississippi properties, the Gold Strike and the Beau Rivage, began accepting sports wagers this week. The launch took place in the presence of NFL players Stanley Morgan and Willis McGahee who placed simultaneous bets at the two casinos.
Mississippi became the third state to allow legal sports betting this year after New Jersey and Delaware. More states are expected to follow suit including New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Mississippi is expecting that its sports betting operations will run smoothly, thanks to its experience with its existing casinos, a mature gaming market, veteran operators and experienced state regulating infrastructure. The smooth rollout of Mississippi sports betting is bolstered by the fact that its casinos have a major regional advantage. They started quickly and have little competition -- the closest state with legal sports betting is West Virginia which is a significant distance away and which hasn’t yet launched operations.
When other Southern states start to explore sports betting legislation in 2019, Mississippi will be far ahead of the field. The other states might have an advantage in the online and mobile betting market since, according to Mississippi state law, Mississippi betting must take place on the property of a casino sportsbook and mobile betting will be limited to people physically located at a Mississippi casino.
Beach Casino Opening
The Island View Casino Resort’s Beach Casino has opened and brings Gulfport gamblers exciting gambling entertainment, fine dining, lounge shows and more. For many new patrons, one of the most compelling reasons to patronize the Beach Casino is the fact that it’s a smoke-free venue.
The smoke-free atmosphere was the inspiration of co-owner Rick Carter who said that "I've been waiting for a smoke-free casino for 30 years now…..that’s going to be a very strict policy."
The nonsmoking designation begins even before clients enter the enclosed walkway over the highway. All areas including the gaming floors, the hotel tower and the restaurants are smoke-free. Carter doesn’t worry about losing customers – he says that those who prefer to smoke can find the same games, promotions and amenities at other nearby casinos.
LED lights are set to change when someone hits a jackpot. Walls of windows highlight the sunset views and beachfront location. "When you're in here you get the full effect of the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said co-owner Terry Green, Carter’s boyhood friend.
The casino is 43,000 square feet with 967 slot machines and 18 table games. There’s an elevated stage for the shows, 24-hour Beach Coffee Shop, a daiquiri bar and the 236-seat Dockside Deli with a dining balcony that overlooks the beach. Carter says that "my understanding is it's the only casino in the world to offer floor-to-ceiling all glass."
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves helped Carter and Green cut the ribbon on the new casino. Reeves called them "Mississippi boys who are investing back in Mississippi” while Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes commented that the new owners believe “in Gulfport and this Coast.”
Carter and Green invested $400 million in the project. They purchased the casino from Harrah's after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their Copa Casino. The casino employs close to 1,900.
The casino is the biggest tax contributor to the city and Gulfport School District” said State Rep. Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach. “It is the only casino in the state of Mississippi owned by locals.”