BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Now that the federal ban on sports betting has been lifted, Coast casinos plan to take advantage of a new venture.
All properties are busily setting up legal sports betting operations. The games are about to begin with sports betting operations coming to casino properties in the next few weeks.
A late summer launch is expected at all properties on the Coast, positioning the arrival of legal sports betting with the start of football season.
At the Golden Nugget, it's a construction zone with workers transforming the current sports bar into a bookmaking operation. "We're throwing up video walls around the room, We're basically expanding the sports bar concept and integrating a sports book operation into it," said Scott King.
Properties like Beau Rivage, IP, Harrah's and Golden Nugget have corporate connections in Las Vegas they'll tap into. Others will rely on outside vendors to run sports betting.
Palace Casino contracted with a company called William Hill to run an operation in the sports bar, Contact. "Palace is the book. We brought William Hill in as a partner. They are the provider. They have the technology we don't possess. They are global. They are one of the largest in the country," according to Palace General Manager Keith Crosby.
The advent of legal betting on sports will give casino properties another amenity to draw visitors. The casinos and the state stand to generate revenue from bets placed on sporting events.
All losses paid out by the casinos will be taxed at 12%, with a quarter of the money coming to coastal governments and schools, and 8% going into Mississippi's general fund.
Sports betting will go a long way towards providing casinos with a steady stream of more year round visitors and extra revenue. "The current peak visitation begins in March and winds down in August and September. With sports book we can extend that with football, baseball and basketball, horse racing, whatever is going on. It makes it a year round concept," King said.
Each casino must have their sports betting operation approved by the State Gaming Commission. All legal bookmaking rooms should be ready by mid August.