A new effort to legalize online sports betting in Mississippi has been launched, with two new bills introduced this week.

Sports betting was legalized in Mississippi in 2018 following the repeal of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). However, currently only online sports betting is possible via geofenced sportsbooks in land-based casinos.

Bill HB271, filed by Rep. Cedric Burnett, and bill HB635, introduced by Rep. Jay McKnight, both seek to change that and allow bettors to bet on sports through their mobile devices in the state, regardless of whether they are in a casino .

This latest attempt to introduce online sports betting in the state is the sixth since House Bill 606 was signed into law last year. The bill authorized a Mississippi sports betting task force to “conduct a comprehensive analysis” of sports betting in the state.

The bill was originally far more expansive and aimed to allow all of the state’s land-based casinos to partner with an online sportsbook. However, its reach in the committee was significantly limited.

Of the four states bordering Mississippi, Alabama is the only one that has not yet legalized online sports betting. Tennessee has introduced online sports betting in 2020, while Arkansas and Louisiana both legalized it in 2022.

Mississippi’s shrinking sports betting market

The introduction of online betting would be a welcome boost to Mississippi’s sports betting market, which saw a disappointing end through 2023.

Mississippi’s December revenue was $48.9m (£38.6m/€44.9m), down 34.3% from $74.4m in December 2022. This was also 21.6% less than the $62.4 million spent in November 2023.

Meanwhile, sales reached $4.9 million, down 56.6% compared to December 2022. However, total sales were 58.1% higher than the previous month’s sales. The winning percentage for the month was 10%.

Coastal casinos remain the venue of choice for Mississippi gamblers, processing $31.6 million in bets and generating $2.4 million in revenue. American football was the leading sport with $14.5 million in bets, while basketball was second with $7.7 million.