Vicksburg and Mississippi casinos could soon see a boost from sports betting

Published 7:00 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

Casinos in Vicksburg and Mississippi could be enjoying a shot in the arm if all goes as planned and legal sports betting is allowed in their venues.

For several years now, the gaming industry has leveled off in popularity and revenue, but having a new option could be quite a boost to casinos.

The Mississippi Legislature was one of five states — Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia being the others — that passed a bill in 2017 legalizing sports betting, but it was still illegal at the federal level until Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which outlawed betting on most sports outside of Nevada.

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Mississippi has 28 casinos, including the four in Vicksburg, and the state’s gaming commission is currently working on regulations that would enable them to operate sports books.

Once the commission makes the rules public for comment, which is expected to occur no later than their June meeting, they must wait 25 days to finalize them and then another 30 days for them to go into effect.

The hope is that by voting in June, the regulations will go into place in time for betting to begin with the start of the NFL season Sept. 6.

“We feel very confident that everything is going to get done, and hopefully just before football season begins, which is probably the most popular of all the betting seasons,” Tony Scudiero, general manager of Waterview Casino Vicksburg, said.

Sports betting is big business and could drive more visitors to our local casinos, boosting the gaming industry as well as our local economy.

While Louisiana has reaped the benefits of Mississippians crossing the Big River to play the lottery at convenience stores, we could soon see car tags from Louisiana coming across the bridge to legally place sports bets in our casinos.