BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Sports books are set to shine in the months ahead as the NFL and SEC kick off football seasons.
Surprisingly, sportsbook numbers weren’t down in August. Usually, baseball is the only sport to bet on in the late summer months, but COVID-19 has changed everything. It has even kept the sports books a little bit busier than usual.
“Bringing back football is almost the icing on the cake," said Scott King, Golden Nugget Vice President of Marketing. “Having a strong start to August with people still having the ability to bet on baseball and the novelty of having basketball in August gave us a good warm up. Now that we are here in September, people are really excited about betting on football - both NFL and college - so tonight is a big night.”
Thursday’s NFL kickoff between the Texans and Chiefs may just be an appetizer for sports bettors in South Mississippi.
“I think that the crowds will continue to ramp up with tonight only having one big game on the docket," said King. “I think that by the time you get to Saturday, you’ll see our hours expand to where, by the time SEC kicks off in late September, we will be ready to handle all that action.”
Some bettors are getting in on the action now, but are still being influenced by their college teams.
“We are huge football fans. We were very huge football fans of LSU when Joe Burrow was our quarterback. Now, he went to Cincy so we are going to bet on him,” said Coast resident Vera Barry.
The Barrys are happy that football is back but like many across the South, they are still waiting for the SEC to return.
“I prefer the college," said Charlie Barry. “I do better picking on the college than the pros.”
Bettors who are looking to place a wager on the Rebels, Bulldogs or Tigers will have to wait a little longer, with SEC football not set to kick off until Sept. 26.