Mississippi has seen $1.03 million in tax revenue from the state since it legalized sports betting. People have wagered $116 million on sporting events since it has become legal to do so.
The first casino in Mississippi started taking sports bets in August. That month the state collected $54,000 in revenue, a number that has continued to grow now that more and more casinos are offering sports betting. Allen Godfrey, executive director of the state Gaming Commision, said that there are still a few of the 28 casinos in the state not offering sports wagering.
Mississippi casinos pay a state tax of 12 percent on their winnings from gambling games that they offer, including sports betting. Eight percent goes to the state and the rest to their local government.
A spokesperson for the Department of Revenue, Kathy Waterbury, said that gamblers are also responsible for paying taxes on their end as well. Waterbury said a 3 percent non-refundable tax is withheld by the casinos and remitted to the state on “winnings that are greater than $600 and the odds are greater than 300-1. If the winnings do not meet these thresholds, then the winnings are subject to income tax at the time of filing the annual income tax return. The winnings would also be offset by any gaming losses the individual incurred.”
While sports betting revenue in the state isn’t quite where many expected it to be, overall casino revenue is up for the fiscal year, which began July 1. Through November, Mississippi has collected $55.7 million in revenue on overall casino winnings, up 5.5 percent from the same time last year. This shows that by legalizing sports betting, casinos attract more customers to increase revenue in other areas as well.
“It’s driven additional foot traffic,” said Godfrey. “It has grown gross gaming revenue. And it has put some additional money in the state coffers.”
More than 72 million dollars in bets have been placed from August to October. The amount of taxable revenue stood at 7.3 million. “That’s what’s taxable,” noted Godfrey. “Then you take 12 percent. Eight percent goes to the state and four percent to local.” Lawmakers have decided that the 8 percent that comes to the state will go to roads and bridges.
Being the first state in the Southeast, Godfrey believes Mississippi has an advantage. “I do believe being first, you develop that following. People like what they like and betters are superstitious. Gamblers are superstitious.”
Godfrey expects the sports betting activity in the state to fluctuate throughout the year. “Football is going to be the king and after the college basketball tournament things will probably slow down some. You’ll be taking a lot of futures wagers. Other than that you’ll start back up in September.”