Why Mississippi Sports Bets Increased 9.7% in May, But Revenue Declined

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Mississippi sports betting has seen a reverse trend by reporting a 9.7% increase in May handle, and almost the same percentage decrease in revenue.

According to the figures released by the Mississippi Gaming Commission, the state reported $36.1 million in May handle, a 9.7% jump compared to April’s $32.9 million.

However, the Mississippi sportsbooks reported a 9.6% decline to $3.8 million in May from $4.3 million recorded in April.

What Led to this ‘Paradox’?

The seemingly disproportionate figures are due to the hold rate at the state’s casinos.

In April, the win percentage was 13.07%, an exorbitantly high percentage compared to the national trends that usually range somewhere between 5% to 8%.

In May, the hold rate was 10.76%, still higher than the national average but good enough to explain the eventual decline in May’s revenue despite the handle rise.

The Magnolia State had reported the highest record for a single month in January, which saw $67.7 million in handle. The following months brought shrinking handles, with football season ending, and with spring slump approaching.

The next football season is the best hope for the Mississippi sportsbooks to see the return of the same boasting figures the state saw in January.

Basketball Reigns

The lack of football – by far the biggest sport in Mississippi – led the state bettors to console with other options. There could be no better consolation in basketball, which drew in $15 million in May.

Baseball was the second most popular among Mississippians, who wagered $7.4 million on the sport.

Parlay cards recorded $6 million in handle, compared to $7.7 million for the “other” category.

No Mobile Option Continues to Haunt Mississippi

Mississippi sports betting continues to be affected by the fate it wrote itself while legalizing the industry. The Magnolia State was one of the first states to launch sports betting in 2018 – but the law only allowed retail betting. There was no statewide mobile betting.

Anyone in Mississippi wishing to place a wager on his/her phone must do so within a casino. Multiple mobile sports betting bills with a statewide scope have failed.

It explains why Mississippi remains to be an underperforming market, with modest monthly handles. For comparison, Iowa – with almost the same population as Mississippi’s – reports nearly three times the handle of the Magnolia State. Compared to Mississippi’s $36.1 million in May, Iowa saw $114.88 million for the same period.

Recent Legislative Efforts to Bring Mobile Betting

The latest efforts to see online sports betting in Mississippi failed this February when three bills aiming to allow mobile platforms died in committee.

The three bills – SB 2396, SB 2732, and HB 1042 – would have allowed casinos to operate sports betting, and expand sports betting to statewide mobile betting. The two Senate bills never got a full vote in a legislative session.

Currently, mobile betting is only allowed on a casino’s property.

Other Gaming Numbers

Like sports betting, slots and table games saw a rise in May. The May slot handle was $2.6 billion compared to April’s $2.58. But like sports betting, the win fell to $204.5 million in May, from April’s $219.7 million.

However, table games presented a better scenario. The drop or handle was $187.1 million, representing a 6.8% increase from April’s $175.2 million. The hold increased to 0.4% to 32.99 million in May from $32.87 million in April.

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