Tennessee, watch your southern border.
This past week, a Mississippi legislator called for legalizing online sports betting. The move, while preliminary, puts Tennessee sports betting at risk.
What the MS bill includes
Rep. Cedric Burnett submitted the sports betting bill (HB 172) this past January.
Current state law allows for online and mobile sports betting while on casino property. Step across the street for some cigarettes and you can no longer place a bet on your phone.
Burnett’s bill calls for online and mobile sports betting anywhere within state lines.
Per the bill’s text, types of bets include:
- Single-game bets
- Teaser bets
- Exchange wagering
- In-game wagering
- In-play bets
- Prop bets
- Straight bets
Bettors would be able to wager on professional and college sports.
The bill would kick in on July 1 if it can survive the state legislature’s gaming commission, additional commissions, and the House and Senate.
How MS sports betting would affect TN
At present, Tennessee is working to do what is basically the opposite set up as Mississippi. The state passed an online-only sports betting bill last year. State regulators are currently on track to launch around football season. State legislators are trying to finalize regulations for licensing, mobile apps, and other common issues.
Interestingly, Mississippi’s bill would allow online sports betting to happen before Tennessee gets out of the gate.
The online sports betting collision course does not bode well for Tennessee.
If Mississippi launches online betting around the same time (in theory) that Tennessee does means the Volunteer State could lose its first-to-market advantage. The two states share about 100 miles of border.
One would need to consider the brand-recognition factor too. If the Volunteer State launches a big-name sportsbook like DraftKings or FanDuel before Mississippi does, it could attract Mississippi bettors loyal to those brands.
TN can pull bettors from neighboring states
The Tennessee-Mississippi border will be contested ground after online and mobile sports betting launches in both states.
However, only one of the other eight states bordering Tennessee, Arkansas, has legalized sports betting. The rest do not:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
While Tennessee may have to scrap with Mississippi to win bettors on the states’ shared border, it won’t have the same issue with other states, at least for ow. Several of these states are considering sports betting legislation this year though.