Sports betting could mean Coast casinos cashing in on out of state visitors

Sports betting could mean Coast casinos cashing in on out of state visitors
Coast visitors believe the addition of sports betting will bring more people to the area. (Photo Source: WLOX)

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The ground work is already being laid for sports bets to be placed in Mississippi, giving Coast casinos the chance to cash in on visitors from out of state.

Greg Norris lives in Missouri and is a regular visitor to the Coast. The odds are good that he'll be able to bet on his Kansas City Royals soon in a Coast casino.

"I'd place a bet on a sporting event because it's available to do and easy access to it," Norris said.

While Mississippi is in good position to allow sports betting, it's a long shot we'll see it in the near future in neighboring states.

In the Louisiana legislature a bill backing the legalization of sports wagering just failed, to the disappointment of State Sen. Danny Martiny. "I think the rest of the country is ecstatic over the fact that that they can do this," Martiny said. "We're going to lose money and we're going to lose patrons."

Tourism leaders on the Coast are hoping Louisiana's potential loss will be Mississippi's gain.

"Louisiana is one of our biggest markets and we really appreciate that," said Visit MS Gulf Coast CEO Milton Segarra. "This new door will certainly help to attract more visitors, more players and certainly increase the possibilities for our casinos."

Chris Carroll from Pensacola is a regular traveler on I-10 and he thinks if sports betting is allowed, he and others will have an added reason to stop and stay on the Mississippi Coast.

"Your real gamblers are going to find bookies and do it that way. I think that if the casinos and this state would do it, then I absolutely feel that they'd be here and it would get them real busy," Carroll said.

Martiny said if he is unable to attach his failed bill to another piece of legislation that is still working its way through the legislative process in Louisiana, he will reintroduce it next year.

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