- Mississippi casinos were able to reopen in late May and early June, leading to the first sports betting action in months.
- In June, Mississippi sportsbooks handled $1.6 million in sports bets and lost $62,230, a hold rate of -3.85%
- Although the amount of money lost is relatively small, it was still surprising to see sportsbooks lose money in their first month back.
- Sports betting revenues should increase greatly as major North American leagues resume play in July and August, but COVID-19-related business restrictions could limit casino sportsbooks.
BILOXI, Miss. – After a months-long hiatus, Mississippi’s brick-and-mortar sportsbook actually lost money in their first full month of operation since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mississippi sportsbooks handled a collective total of $1.6 million in wagers but lost $62,230 on those wagers—likely a result of monthly payouts on past winning bets. The hold rate of nearly negative four percent is one of the lowest monthly totals any state has ever recorded.
Most of those wagers were for sports besides football, baseball, and basketball, which are the only three sports that Mississippi collects individual data on. Wagers on “Other” sports, as they are categorized in the data, accounted for 66% of the total June betting handle.
These wagers were extremely profitable for Mississippi sportsbooks, accounting for $178,165 in sports betting revenue for a hold rate of 21.2%. The second leading category was parlay cards, which accounted for 9.5% of the total monthly betting handle and $31,455 in revenue.
Mississippi’s Slow First Month Back
Most major global sports leagues were shut down for the majority of June, which severely cut into the financial potential of sportsbooks for the month.
But with Major League Soccer already resuming its season and three other major leagues (NBA, MLB, NHL) all set to resume their own seasons, within the next two weeks, there is no cause for concern. Sportsbooks will return to being profitable soon enough.
The biggest hurdle for Mississippi sportsbooks at this point is a lack of mobile gambling options. Bettors can only wager on their phones while physically located within a licensed casino, which makes it difficult to bet on sports while adhering to public health guidelines for the coronavirus.
COVID-19 is the biggest existential threat to the finances of Mississippi sportsbooks. Mississippi has confirmed 38,567 cases of the virus so far—or 1.3% of the entire population.
The infection rate in Florida, one of the global epicenters of the disease, for comparison, is 1.4%.
As there are no options for online gambling outside of Mississippi’s retail casinos, any limitations on retail operations will severely reduce overall betting handle throughout the state.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued an executive order, effective July 13, to require strict social distancing and mandate that the public wear masks at all time inside retail establishments.
These new restrictions could discourage the public from visiting casinos.
News tags: Biloxi | Mississippi | MLB | MLS | NBA | NHL | Tate Reeves
With a dual background in English and sports performance and business analytics, Carter aims to write stories that both engage and inform the reader. He prides himself on his ability to interweave empirical data and traditional narrative storytelling. When he isn’t keeping readers up to date on the latest sports betting legal news, he’s banging his head against a wall regretting his decision to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan.