Riverwalk Casino first to offer sports betting in Vicksburg

Published 8:14 pm Thursday, August 23, 2018

Casino patrons can now go to the river and place their wagers on Ole Miss-Texas Tech or Mississippi State-Stephen F. Austin.

Riverwalk Casino Thursday morning opened its sportsbook betting area with a ribbon cutting and Mayor George Flaggs Jr. placing the ceremonial first bet.

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“This is a huge event; it’s actually very historic in nature,” Ginny Tzotzolas, president and manager of Riverwalk, told an assembled crowd of casino officials, customers and casino employees.

“We’re getting ready to open our sportsbook, and we have the honor and privilege of not only being the first sportsbook here in Vicksburg, Mississippi, but we are the first BetAmerica Sportsbook in the entire country, and we’re extremely thrilled that we are going to share it with you today.”

According to information from Churchill Downs, which owns Riverwalk, the BetAmerica Sportsbook area in the casino features 19 wagering kiosks and big screen displays broadcasting more than 100 high-definition channels of sports events and information.

Flaggs called the opening “an awesome day, not only for Vicksburg, but for Mississippi and Riverwalk Casino. To be the first in the nation for BetAmerica to be in Vicksburg, I think is phenomenal for Vicksburg and speaks volumes for this casino.”

After cutting the ribbon with help from South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour, Flaggs received $100 from a casino official to make the first bet — on the Cleveland Browns to beat the Philadelphia Eagles.

“Did you check the odds on that?” Monsour asked.

“I think the Browns will beat Philadelphia and I believe the Browns will be in the Super Bowl,” Flaggs said.

“I think this is going to be another tool and a marketing tool for the city of Vicksburg to get more traffic into our city and to be a part of our tourist destination we are promoting,” Flaggs said after the ceremony. “It’s just another great day for Vicksburg and another game changer on the Mississippi River.”

Earlier this month, Mississippi became the fourth state in the nation to offer sports wagering. The others are Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. The first bets in Mississippi were simultaneously taken at noon Aug. 1, at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino on the Gulf Coast and its sister property, Gold Strike Casino Resort, in Tunica.

Tzotzolas believes the sportsbook area at Riverwalk Casino will draw not only people interested in betting on sporting events, but will also attract other customers who will be involved in the casino’s other attractions.

She also believes sportsbook activity will help business at all four city casinos.

“It always helps to have s shiny new toy, and sports betting is the shiny new toy,” she said. “It will help bring people in. Anything that helps is good for the industry.”

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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