Sports gambling turns a year old
Tomorrow will mark the one year anniversary of legalized sports betting in Mississippi. In 2019, sports betting has provided casinos $96 million of revenue with five months still to go.
Sports betting and the Coast have been a winning combination. It was something every casino here wanted to get behind and for good reason. Ten states now have legalized sports gambling with eight more states expected to join the party in 2020. Scarlet Pearl Sportsbook Supervisor Nikki McGowan said, “Vegas has had the monopoly on sports betting for 50 years. Once it became legalized, everyone wanted to get on the bandwagon. You’ve seen a handful of states do that. I really think it’s something that is going to sweep the nation.”
It’s definitely swept the state. Since August 1st, 2018, Coast casinos have been left in awe by the response to the sports gambling. Harrah’s Sportsbook Manager Rob Portwood said, “Way, way above our expectations and it continues to grow. Month over month, numbers have continued to increase every month almost. It’s been way above our wildest expectations.”
A main component of that success is the attitude towards football here in the South. Between the SEC and the New Orleans Saints, sports gambling seems to be set up for sustainable success. Beau Rivage Sportsbook manager Will Hall said, “It’s just a way of life down here. This is almost the center of the storm because LSU, we have a huge LSU following, Alabama and we’re close to the two in-state schools, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. We get a lot of people in from Atlanta who love the Beau so we got a lot of Bulldogs here as well. It’s just perfect.”
The August 1st start date for casinos last year meant they didn’t have much time to put much together on a larger scale, causing casinos like Harrah’s and the Beau Rivage to plan ahead for the 2019 season. Portwood said, “We were going to determine based on demand how much we wanted to build out or add to the experience and based on the success we had. This is what we got. It’s a beautiful toy we have now.”
Hall said, “We had this renovation in the works even before we opened on the first last year. I love that they had that kind of foresight into the future.”
Up next for sports gambling? How about mobile wagering, which some believe to not be that far away.