Local casinos very pleased so far with sports betting

Published 7:17 pm Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Bettors placed wagers totaling $31.77 million on football games and other sporting events during September, translating into $5.5 million in taxable revenue, according to information from the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

More money was bet on football and baseball than any other sport.

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According to statistics from the commission, sports wagers for the state’s Central District, which includes Vicksburg, totaled $2.9 million, translating into $470,564 in taxable revenue. Of that total, $2.26 million bets were placed on football games, with $453,611 placed on baseball.

The Coastal District had the largest amount of wages placed with $22.09 million, translating into $3.9 million in taxable revenue. More than $16 million of those wagers were placed on football, and $2.7 million on baseball.

Bettors in the northern area of the state dropped a total of $6.76 million in sports wagers for a taxable revenue of $1.12 million. Bettors placed $4.37 million on football and $559,433 on baseball.

Boost locally

Locally, officials with the three Vicksburg Casinos that have sports betting venues said sports betting has been a strong draw to bring people into their businesses.

“We’ve had a lot of people coming in who have previously been sports book bettors, but also new people who want to learn how to do it,” said Penny Bankston, vice president and general manager of WaterView Casino. “The majority of our bets are coming in on the parlays, where you bet on multiple teams on the outcome. We’ve seen a nice little lift from having it open.”

Gerad Hardy, vice president and general manager of Ameristar Casino, said sports betting “has certainly met our expectations in terms of what we thought it would do here, driving visitations and bringing new faces into the casino that we haven’t seen in a while.

“It’s done what we thought it would do and we’re optimistic that it will continue to grow. We’re seeing bets across the board, but college football is the number one draw we’re seeing so far. People love their home teams.”

Mary Beth Wilkes, marketing director at Riverwalk Casino, said football is presently the top draw at the casino’s sports book venue, but added she believes other sports will be highlighted as the sports seasons change.

“We’re very, very excited about it,” she said. “We’re seeing new guests coming through and dropping in and visiting. We’re very pleased. It’s an absolute positive.”

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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