Mississippi House Rejects Changes to Mobile Sports Betting Bill, Requests Conference Committee

The move keeps the hopes of legalizing statewide online sports betting this year alive in Jackson, where lawmakers are split on the subject.

Apr 16, 2024 • 10:15 ET • 2 min read
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Mississippi House of Representatives has officially shot down the Senate’s version of what was initially a mobile sports betting bill, a move that was expected and that now allows Magnolia State lawmakers to try to find common ground on the legislation. 

Mississippi’s House on Monday declined to concur with amendments the Senate made to House Bill 774, which originally proposed making online sports and race betting available throughout the state.

The House rejecting those changes was almost a certainty. Senators approved a version of H.B. 774 that contains no mobile sports betting-related provisions, although they did so to help the bill survive several legislative deadlines and to continue discussions about whether Mississippi should authorize statewide mobile wagering.

"There is no new language,” said Sen. David Blount, chairman of the chamber’s gaming committee, last week. “I anticipate the House will invite conference when we send this back over to them."

Indeed, Monday’s rejection came with little fanfare or commentary but it was paired with an invitation to the Senate to conference on the legislation. A conference committee can now be established to discuss H.B. 774 and to hammer out compromise legislation that both houses could approve before the Mississippi legislature adjourns on May 5.

The move keeps the hopes of legalizing statewide online sports betting this year alive in Jackson, where lawmakers are split on the subject. Blount noted during a brief committee meeting earlier this month that discussions were happening behind the scenes in the legislature.

Mississippi has legal sports betting at almost 30 brick-and-mortar casinos in the state. Furthermore, at several, patrons can use mobile apps that allow them to wager while on the property. However, there is no authorized avenue for online sports betting in Mississippi when a patron leaves the property, as the state is one of 20 without any legalized forms of mobile wagering. 

H.B. 774 proposed to alter that status quo by allowing online sportsbook operators to partner with the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos to offer mobile wagering. Before the Senate gutted the legislation, the bill also proposed a 12% tax rate for online betting. Those provisions, or ones similar to them, would need to be reinserted into H.B. 774 if mobile wagering is to be legalized this year.

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