The state of Mississippi saw its first legal sports books take bets on Wednesday.
According to a report from sunherald.com, gamblers began placing bets at noon local time at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi (pictured) and the Gold Strike Casino in Tunica.
The state followed Delaware and New Jersey in launching sports books after the U.S. Supreme Court gave the green light in mid-May. Nevada has long had legal sports betting thanks to being grandfathered in under the 1992 law that SCOTUS struck down.
Both Beau Rivage and Gold Strike are MGM Resorts-owned properties. Las Vegas-based MGM this week announced an “historic partnership” for online sports betting. Unlike the other three sports betting states, Mississippi hasn’t passed a law to regulate online casino-style betting.
Mississippi is home to about 30 brick-and-mortar casinos, according to the American Gaming Association. More are expected to kick of sports betting in the coming days and weeks, according to Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
The state was eager to launch sports betting in time for the college and professional football seasons. “Here in the heart of the South, home to some of the most ardent sports fans in the world, we open a whole new era of sports entertainment and we do it on the eve of football season,” Bill Boasberg, president of Beau Rivage, said in a press release.
The legalization of sports betting in Mississippi was done to grow the state’s gambling market that is worth more than $2 billion annually.
On a national basis, the sports betting market could hit $6 billion by 2023, assuming more than 30 states have implemented the industry by then. That’s according to research group Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.
A market of $6 billion sounds enormous, but the U.S. casino industry (commercial and tribal) already wins more than $70 billion each year from gamblers. The sports betting market could reach $15.8 billion if all 50 states have it, per Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.
Deutsche Bank Securities in New York predicted that by 2023 there will be 13 states with active sports betting industries. Based on 13 states, the market could reach $4 billion.
West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are among the states most likely to be next to launch sports betting.
While many states are gradually moving toward their respective sports betting industries, the major sports leagues have called on Congress to also establish regulation.