In Just Over A Week, MS Sportsbooks Took $236K In Wagers

Posted on June 19, 2020

The last few days of May weren’t bad for retail sportsbook operators in Mississippi. May’s sports betting handle suggests gamblers in the state are coming back.

Despite having the option to wager on sporting events for just the last week of the month, MS sports bettors put down nearly a quarter of a million dollars. It’s just a start, but it isn’t a bad one.

Breaking down the May numbers for Mississippi sports betting

Total handle from the state’s three regions for May came to $236,502.91. Roughly 61% of that total came from the state’s coastal sportsbooks at Biloxi casinos.

Tunica sportsbooks contributed around $68,000, while operators in the central region threw in the other $23,000. Baseball was the most popular sport among those listed separately by the Mississippi Gaming Commission. MS sportsbooks accepted around $15,000 in baseball wagers in May.

While just over $236,000 in handle for a month isn’t going to make any eyes pop, the context is crucial here. MS casinos were only open for the last week to nine days of May.  It was a profitable month for the books too, with almost $88,000 in revenue across the state.

If you take that total and parcel it out over nine days, that’s a daily average of just over $26,000. It’s hard to make an accurate comparison of that number because of the unique circumstances surrounding this month’s marketplace.

There were no MLB games in May, meaning most of the baseball action was likely on MLB futures or baseball in other countries like Korea. It’s almost certain that on an alternate timeline with no COVID-19, handle would have been larger because of the NBA and NHL playoffs.

Still, a daily average of $26,000 in that void and coming out of a pandemic is nothing to be ashamed of. It coincides with robust gaming numbers from the last few days of May.

Encouraging signs for MS casinos all around

Across the state, in terms of other forms of gaming, MS casinos had a stellar Memorial Day Weekend. Several casinos actually reported more traffic and win than they took in during the same five-day period in 2019.

This came amid restrictions like reduced seating at gaming tables, fewer slots, and requirements for patrons to wear face masks. Many Mississippi casinos also still withheld normal amenities like self-service buffets and valet parking.

If circumstances around the pandemic improve, that should result in the further loosening of restrictions. In theory, that would only aid casinos’ revenue and traffic numbers.

The pending returns of North American sporting events should buoy handle at MS sportsbooks as well. The last few days of May brought reason for optimism, and they might be just a precursor to better returns this month.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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