Local casinos get ready for sports betting

Published 7:18 pm Thursday, June 28, 2018

At least one Vicksburg casino plans to be ready for sports betting once it becomes legal in the wake of regulations approved by the Mississippi Gaming Commission, while another is waiting on the completion of the sale of its parent company to another gaming company.

The commission June 20 approved a set of regulations for betting on baseball, football, basketball and other sports. The regulations become effective in late July.

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“We’ve been working on this for a while now,” said Tony Scudiero, manager of WaterView Casino. “Now that the regulations will be ready to go, we are also working on it to be up and running to the best of our ability the first day that bets are able to be placed.

“There are internal control and procedures, and getting the sports book built that are in the process of being taken care of. We are going to do our best to be up and running as soon as it becomes 100 percent legal,” he said.

Paul Avery, manager of Lady Luck Casino, said the casino has delayed action pending the completion of the sale of the casino to Churchill Downs Inc. Lady Luck is one of two casinos owned by Eldorado Resorts that are being sold to Churchill Downs, which also owns Riverview Casino, which is almost adjacent to Lady Luck.

“We’re not approaching that until the sale is complete,” he said. “We’re not going to make any major capital improvements like that until we make the sale.”

Repeated attempts to contact officials with Riverview Casino and Ameristar Casino were unsuccessful.

Scudiero said plans for WaterView include building a betting area on the casino’s first floor, having kiosks in the casino where bettors can go to place bets and an app that can only be used in the casino to place bets through a cell phone.

“The law is written that all betting must take place in the confines of the casino,” he said.

The Mississippi Legislature changed state law in 2017 to allow sports betting as part of a bill legalizing and regulating fantasy sports, and the U.S. Supreme Court in May struck down a federal law barring gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states.

Under the state’s sports betting regulations, casinos will pay state and local taxes worth 12 percent of the wagers minus the payouts. Mississippi casinos can take bets on any pro, college or Olympic sport, or any other proposition approved by regulators except political elections. But the commission can veto certain types of wagers.

Casinos can’t take bets from coaches or athletes and must report suspicious bets over $5,000. Sports books are supposed to get detailed information on anyone betting or winning more than $10,000.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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