When the Supreme Court overturned a ruling that lifted a long-standing ban on sports wagering in May, it opened doors for states to legalize it. Mississippi was the fourth state to legalize sports betting after Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. West Virginia also permits sports betting.
Following state legalization in Mississippi, the Choctaw Gaming Commission approved regulations for sports betting. As of August 30, Pearl River Resort Casino in Choctaw, Mississippi, is the first tribal casino to offer sports betting outside of Nevada.
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians debuted Sportsbook at Timeout Lounge inside the Golden Moon Casino at Pearl River Resort on August 30.
“Being a part of such a historical moment is a significant achievement for Pearl River Resort and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. We are also excited to be the first tribal owned and operated sportsbook outside the state of Nevada,” stated Sonny Johnson, Interim President & CEO for Pearl River Resort. “The Sportsbook is another great gaming addition for our guests to enjoy on our gaming floor. What sets our Sportsbook apart is that we have a dedicated room for our guests to place their bets on a wide variety of sporting events.”
At the 24/7 Sportsbook at Timeout Lounge, games play on 20 televisions. Bettors can place bets at three counters. The attraction also features a bar and 12 odds boards displaying games and scores, among other amenities. In the near future, the tribe anticipates opening a kiosk and mobile wagering, where guests can place bets anywhere on casino grounds. (In June 2018, the Mississippi Gaming Commission adopted regulations requiring all betting take place in-person. Mobile wagering is scheduled for consideration.)
In Mississippi, two MGM-owned gambling venues, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi and Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, launched sportsbooks on August 1.
As the only state in the southeastern part of the United States where sports betting is legal and in operation, Mississippi holds a competitive advantage. While neighboring states are in talks to legalize wagering on professional and collegiate sports leagues, it will be a year before anything moves forward. By then, Mississippi will have gained presence and momentum to handle and respond to outside competition. Pearl River Resort, in particular, is a major gaming destination for residents of Mississippi and Alabama. Pearl River’s foray into sports betting is also a gamechanger for fans of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) with Mississippi now the closest location for SEC bettors to partake in sports betting live.
When the Choctaw Gaming Commission approved sports betting, Choctaw Resort Development Enterprise (CRDE) Board Chairman and Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson released the following statement: “The Resort is very excited about the opportunity to offer these new products for our guests in a vibrant and advanced gambling environment. These newly approved regulations will allow the Resort to remain on the forefront of the gambling market as well as provide additional revenue streams to the Tribe. The Resort will be able to service all our patrons at Bok Homa Casino, Silver Star Hotel and Casino, and Golden Moon Hotel and Casino.”