BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - As the NFL gets ready to kick off the 2018 season tonight, new data from the Mississippi Gaming Commission gives us a peek at what sports books may mean for coast casinos. The Mississippi Gaming Commission’s executive director just saw a report that tallied sports book receipts from every casino around the state. He told us the report says from August 1st through the end of Labor Day weekend, gamblers bet $9.8 million at sports books. That’s not how much they won, or how much the casinos made off the bets. That’s simply how much money people bet.
August 1st is the day Beau Rivage and Gold Strike became the first Mississippi casinos to operate a sports book. In the 34 days since then, every other coast casino opened their own sports books.
Local casino executives say much of the early betting was on baseball. And traditionally, baseball doesn’t draw many bettors. Now that it’s football season, they expect sports wagering totals to go way up. We’re told people packed into sports books last weekend when college football kicked off. And this weekend, the NFL opens its regular season. Those casino executives say they anticipate big crowds inside their sports books both Saturday and Sunday. They’ll have a much better idea how sports books impact their businesses once the weekend is over.
By the way, sports book operators estimate a casino only makes 5-7% off a sports book wager. If that’s the case, Mississippi casinos kept roughly $500,000 of the nearly $10 million bet at sports book windows.