The Mississippi House of Representatives has passed a new bill that would legalize online sports betting in the Magnolia State.

House Bill 774 would expand Mississippi’s current sports betting market to include online betting. Currently, under laws passed in 2018, players can only bet in retail establishments of land-based casinos.

With the support of eight state representatives as sponsors, HB774 moved into the House of Representatives earlier this week. The bill passed by a vote of 98-14 and will now head to the Senate.

Key language in the bill would allow all 26 land-based casinos in Mississippi to launch online sports betting. Casinos can only work with a licensed platform to offer betting. This would be in addition to all existing retail sportsbooks.

The bill did not provide for an application fee for licenses. However, it was stated that the renewal fee for a manufacturer license would be $1,000 and for a seller or distributor license it would be $500.

Tiered tax structure for licensees

Tax-wise, this would be applied in a tiered structure based on each licensee’s gross receipts. Anyone with online sports betting sales of less than $50,000 per month pays the lowest tax rate of 4%.

For operators booking between $50,000 and $134,000, this rate increases to 6%. For every licensee who earns more than this amount, he pays a rate of 8%.

Players must be at least 21 years old to bet and can place bets from anywhere in Mississippi.

If the bill passes the Senate and becomes law, it would take effect on July 1 of this year.

The race to legalize online betting is heating up in Mississippi

HB774 is by no means the only bill controversial in Mississippi, as several other bills are on the table. The latest are HB271 and HB635, which, like HB774, seek to legalize sports betting.

The sudden flood of bills follows HB606, a bill that became law last year. This authorized a Mississippi sports betting task force to conduct “a comprehensive analysis” of sports betting in the state.

Originally, the bill was broader and aimed at giving any land-based casino the ability to partner with an online sportsbook. However, its reach in the committee was significantly limited.

HB774 appears to counteract this by proposing to allow all casinos to offer online betting.

Mississippi is almost entirely surrounded by states that offer legal online betting. Tennessee has opened its market in 2020, Arkansas and Louisiana coming online in 2022. Alabama is the only neighboring state without a legal online market.