The Deep South has already seen legalized sports betting services, with the first college football Saturday already passed.
Historically, the Deep South has been a region where gambling on sports has been illegal for about a century. Now, thanks to the US Supreme Court’s decision to allow betting on sports, lifting the federal ban imposed on sports betting by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, it has emerged from the shadows to become a legal gambling option.
The state of Mississippi acted quickly on the US Supreme Court’s ruling, becoming the first and only state from the Southeast region where sports betting offering is legally available up to date. Now, people from the states of Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia are heading to Mississippi to take advantage of the first-ever legal sports betting option available in the state.
Currently, the most luxurious sports book in the city of Biloxi is being offered at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Last Saturday, the venue saw a full range of college football matches kick off, with fans from the Southeast coming to place wagers on their favorite teams.
After the weekend, it became clear that most sports bets were placed on college football, with a massive number of punters “balking”, or placing a wager literally seconds before the official start of a game, seen by the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.
For the time being, a sportsbook has been opened by seven of the eight casinos situated in the city of Biloxi. According to estimates, dozens of illegal bookmakers still operate on the Coast, and legalization of sports betting services does not necessarily mean they would simply stop working. Some of the locals even think that the legalized sports betting could help the illegal activity spread even more.
Deep South Casinos Remodel Venues into Sportsbooks
The first Saturday with college football betting available saw the biggest wave of legal sports betting in the state of Mississippi to date. The first four hours of legal sports betting offering at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino saw 1,670 bets made, which is about 425 per hour. By 3:00 PM, the overall number of bets reached 3,000 and jumped to 5,598 by close of sports betting offering at 1:00 AM on Sunday morning.
The Vice president of Race and Sports for the parent company of the Beau Rivage – MGM, Jay Rood, commented on the figures, saying that the football season in the state of Mississippi had a start which has never been seen before, especially considering the massive attention SEC schools have received.
The successful roll-out of sportsbook options have been predetermined, as a number of casinos have managed to open their sportsbook establishments in time for the weekend. A wave of renovation and refurbishment works has preceded the opening of the sportsbooks, with the Beau Rivage turning a nightclub into a sports betting facility featuring 245 seats at the beginning of August.
Other casinos also followed. Only a couple of days after that, the Imperial Palace also unveiled a sportsbook lounge, after using an unoccupied corner of a sports bar. Then, the Hard Rock followed on August 17th, using a space on the back of its casino floor, and the Golden Nugget unveiled its sportsbook on August 24th after remodeling a second-floor video poker bar.