A Complete Overview of Online Gambling in Mississippi

Mississippi Legal Gambling Overview:

  • Status: Illegal
  • Introduced: 2013 for casinos, 2019 for sports betting (both bills failed)
  • Bill sponsor: 2013, Bobby Moak, Democrat; 2019, Cedric Burnett, Democrat and Sen. Willie Simmons, Democrat

Mississippi has historically been an important state for gambling in the United States. As far back as the mid-1800s, hotels such as the Nixon and Magnolia offered legal gambling options to their patrons. Riverboats took players up and down the Mississippi river where they could enjoy different types of entertainment and games of chance. Horse racing was also a popular pastime for residents and different types of tracks filled areas like Natchez and Antebellum.

After the civil war, boat racing along the Gulf Coast created new options for people to bet on. These activities carried the area into the 1900s and Mississippi became the first state to cater to out of state gamblers, with the creation of the Broadwater Beach Hotel in 1938. Gambling was a booming business in The Magnolia State.

Then, in the 1950s, people started to protest the legal gambling market. Even the US military got involved, on the grounds that it would “corrupt” young soldiers. The result of these campaigns was a tightened grip on state gambling and eventually only ships that passed to or from foreign waters were legal gambling businesses. This ruling resulted in an era of large cruise ships taking gamers from the Gulf Coast to international waters and back.

The onshore casinos and gambling halls saw their businesses collapse under the new rules. Fines for owning and operating slot machines started to climb, and the hotels and gaming parlors that had operated without issue for years either shut down or moved their games of chance to the backroom. In the wake of this crackdown, the riverboats and other offshore options thrived. However, various hurricanes of the 1960s damaged the Gulf Coast, the final blow was the devastating Hurricane Camille in August of 1969. The area was severely damaged and the gaming industry didn’t recover for years.

About 20 years later, in 1988, the US government passed the National Indian Gaming Act. This opened the door to new interests: Indian Casinos. By the mid-1990s, Nashoba County was home to the Silver Star Casino (currently part of the Pearl River Resort) which was owned and operated by the Choctaw Indians. Following suit with the US government’s new stance on gambling, the Mississippi state government passed the Mississippi Gaming Control Act in 1990. This bill allowed certain towns along the coast and the Mississippi River to vote on allowing casinos.

One of the major modern changes to Mississippi gaming law came in the wake of Hurricane Katrina which destroyed many of the riverboats off the coast of Biloxi. These offshore gambling options had made the area the third largest gambling market in the entire US. After the 2005 hurricane, officials knew they had to rebuild the gaming businesses, but putting the boats back on the water didn’t make sense with the risk of further damage. Therefore in October of 2005, the state government decided to allow onshore casinos within 800 feet of the waterfront in Biloxi. Since then numerous casinos have opened their doors.

Although Mississippi is not the gaming powerhouse it once was, it is still a state with many options for both local and out of state gamers looking for a place to play. The state boasts a wide range of casinos from huge luxury resorts to small slot rooms. People travel from all over the southern United States, and elsewhere, to enjoy the waterfront of Biloxi along with the plethora of gaming options it provides.

Mississippi Gambling Overview:

  • Year Mississippi regulated offline and online gambling: 1990 for onshore brick and mortar casinos. Online gaming has not been regulated as of 2019.
  • Mississippi gambling age: 21
  • Legal online casino games in Mississippi: No state sponsored online gaming
  • Number of commercial casinos: 30
  • Number of tribal casinos: 3 (2 are owned by the same parent company, Pearl River Resort)

Gambling in Mississippi: What’s Legal?

Legal betting in Mississippi includes:

  • Live Casino
  • Sports betting
  • Poker
  • Slot Machines
  • Bingo (only in the charity halls, not at the casinos)
  • Daily Fantasy Sports

In Mississippi gamblers have many options to choose from. There are 33 active casinos in the state, catering to all preferences of gamblers. Most of these casinos are state-run, but the Pearl River Resort and Bok Homa Casino are tribal owned. The majority of the Mississippi casinos are located along the Biloxi coastline and on the banks of the Mississippi River in Tunica. That being said, there are numerous gaming options throughout the state.

All of these casinos are 21+, which is the legal gambling age of the state. These casinos are run by some of the most respected names in gaming. Companies operating in Mississippi include Hard Rock, Harrahs and Golden Nugget. With the bulk of these live casinos on the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River, players can enjoy a beautiful resort atmosphere while staying at the large hotel-casinos. Within these casinos, there are many gaming choices available. Players can enjoy various slot machines, table games, sports betting and live poker. Still, with all the options available, Mississippi does put some limitations on the games allowed.

Forms of Gambling Banned in Mississippi:

  • Horse racing
  • Dog Racing
  • Cock Fighting (or any animal combat)
  • Lottery

Although popular in the Mississippi of the 1800s, horse racing is not currently legal in the state, and there is also no state lottery. Even during the large cross-state drawings like Powerball, Mississippi residents must drive over state lines to buy tickets. Amazingly, this is one of the only states left in the country without any state-run lottery.

Most recently, Mississippi has joined several other states in legalizing sports betting. This change came in August 2018. Gamblers can now place wagers on sports at almost 2 dozen casinos throughout the state. New modern sports books are becoming the norm for the large resort casinos, and gamblers can expect a comfortable lounge atmosphere while enjoying the action.

As recently as February 2019, there has been some legislation trying to allow brick and mortar casinos to take sports wagers online via the internet and mobile gaming. It’s not seen a lot of success in its early attempts, and was last seen being dismissed by the state house and senate after not getting enough support for another reading. For the near future, legal sports betting in Mississippi will only be allowed inside land-based casinos.

Social gaming in Mississippi isn’t legal, but any legal enforcement of small poker games between friends is non-existent. Games take place all over the state, and the authorities don’t seem to have any history of shutting them down. Another kind of social gaming is charity bingo halls. These halls have been running since the Charitable Gaming Act of 1992. There are regulations on how often they can offer games, and there are limits on the stakes. Even with these laws the halls are very common, and over half the counties in the state operate Bingo halls.

Online Casinos in Mississippi: What You Should Know

Mississippi has been progressive in many areas of gambling, they are still not ready to authorize mobile or online gaming. Like many states, the legality of betting online in Mississippi is still a bit of a gray area. Although not specifically banned, the regulatory language limits gaming to only being allowed in the state and Indian Tribal Casinos. One of the reasons that online gambling is not specifically banned is due to the antiquated language of Mississippi gaming law. This has not stopped some options for online gaming to be available to residents, but they are not regulated by the state gaming board. Even though they are not state-regulated, some of these online casinos have been around for years and have built good reputations over time.

A common mistake is that online gambling is banned by the federal government due to the UIEGA Act of 2011. This is not true, and players don’t have to fear any legal repercussions in relation to playing online, whether it is casino games, poker or sports betting. The bill bans banks from conducting gambling transactions online, but it does not ban play. This has resulted in numerous sites over the years serving US citizens with a variety of options. The UIEGA Act certainly has added some hoops to jump through for players in the American online gambling community, but it has certainly not shut down the business overall.

If players are looking for an online casino, there are a few options that have been active offshore for a while. Many of the available offshore casinos offer many games. Options for online gambling include traditional casino games, sports books, poker rooms and slot machines. Outside of the peace of mind that comes with going with a well-established company, the larger offshore companies have full customer support. If players have questions about anything on the site they can call or email the support center and will receive an answer quickly and with little effort. Some of the smaller online casinos don’t offer the same customer service, or the service may not be as quick and complete as the larger options.

With the absence of state regulation backing these online casinos, depositing and cashing out is slightly more difficult. The most common way for players to deposit and withdrawal is through the use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but more traditional paper checks are available as well. Some credit cards may be accepted, but many banks will not allow gambling transactions. Withdrawals via Bitcoin are done in approximately 48 hours, and paper checks can take upwards of two weeks to arrive. These checks come from international banks and can be difficult to deposit. Using the cryptocurrency options that these sites offer is usually better. Although this can sound intimidating to newer users, learning the basics of depositing and cashing out via cryptocurrency is not very complicated. Once they get the basics down, players will love the speed at which their transactions are processed.

One area of online gambling that has seen massive growth in the last few years is daily fantasy sports. Mississippi passed a bill in 2017 legalizing play in these games and several companies are open for business in the state. Players can enjoy these games via phone apps and online legally. Some of these daily fantasy sports sites operate sports books online in other states, and if Mississippi eventually passes legislation legalizing online sports betting these sites could easily offer the option in-state as well.

A new type of gambling that is gaining traction is wagering on esports. With the explosion of the esports market, and tournaments for popular games such as League of Legends, Overwatch and CS:GO having prize pools in the millions of dollars, it’s no surprise that gamblers want a piece of the action. Players can wager on teams to win, tournament standings and various prop bets just like more traditional sports. Gamblers can find these betting options in their sports books like any other tournaments.

Are Mississippi Online Casinos Legal for Non-Mississippi Residents?

There are no Mississippi state regulated online casinos. Players gambling while visiting from out of state are able to use the offshore casinos, but should be wary of their own states laws governing gambling online.

What types of games do Mississippi online casinos have available?

The offshore casinos that operate in Mississippi offer table games like Blackjack and Craps, slot machines, poker and sports betting.

Can I play online casino in Mississippi if I don’t live there?

The offshore online casinos are available to anyone visiting, but they are not regulated by the state.

With the exception of daily fantasy sports, all of the online gambling in Mississippi is done via offshore companies. Therefore, there is no distinct legislation that covers out of state players on these sites. If they can play on these online sites in their home state, visiting Mississippi should not change their eligibility. When it comes to daily fantasy sports, players visiting across state lines will be subject to the discretion of the daily fantasy site. If a person is visiting from a state where daily fantasy sports are legal, there should be no issue. However, citizens of states that have banned daily fantasy, including neighboring Alabama, could run into issues with withdrawing winnings.

Do offshore online casinos operate in Mississippi?

Yes, there are many offshore casinos open to business for Mississippi players.

How to Choose the Best Online Casino in Mississippi

With so many options being advertised for online casinos, it can be tough for players to decide where to place their bets. There are several factors that could factor into the decision, and a lot comes down to player preference. There are sites that specialize in specific games like poker or slot machines, and there are full service online casinos that even offer live dealer options. Some of these casinos have been around for years and have excellent reputations, while some are newer but may offer players other benefits.

When it comes to online gaming options, almost every game you can play at a live casino is offered online. Card games like Blackjack remain popular, and many of the online casinos offer several different variants. Table games like Craps and Roulette are offered, and since the player controls all the action, they can be enjoyed at a slower or faster pace than when played live. Slot machine choices are plentiful online, and many of the most popular options from the live casino are offered online and on mobile phones.

Another reason to choose a site is their bonus program. There are many different reward programs available to players, and it is important to look into these rewards before depositing. Many sites offer substantial first time deposit bonuses, and these codes need to be entered alongside the initial deposit.

Also, longtime players can earn cash and other rewards through sites’ loyalty programs. Being a VIP or top tier player at an online casino can get players money back or other rewards. Referring friends to play at the site you choose and other giveaways are also ways to earn casino credit, and players should consider all of these factors when deciding on the best bonus program for them.

There are rewards for more specific gaming choices as well. Frequent online sports betters may get rewarded tickets to games or entire trips based around sports events. Online poker players are offered free tournaments known as “freerolls” where they can compete for real money with no entry fee. Some poker sites also give away live tournament packages for players to win. These packages can include paid trips to various locations and paid entry fees to large tournaments. As a player it is always good to keep an eye open for new and exciting player reward options.

Players have many choices in offshore gaming while living in Mississippi. Although many people would prefer a casino with a long-standing reputation, there are newer sites with some very generous bonuses for players. Sometimes players just prefer the way a site looks or how the games play. The different options allow players to really find a site that fits their gaming needs. Many players try out several different online casinos before settling on what works best for them. Also, trying multiple sites will allow players to play for multiple deposit bonuses, so experimenting with several companies can have benefits to the player.

The Bottom Line on Mississippi Online Gambling

Online gaming in Mississippi is a gray area. Although not specifically forbidden, the law is clear that gambling is regulated to licensed casinos throughout the state. That being said, offshore gambling does offer a plethora of options for Mississippi residents who want to play online. Live casinos in the state are looking to get sports books legalized, but recent legislation has failed to make it past the beginning stages.

Mississippi lawmakers have tried to get the approval for online gambling several times in the last ten years, but it has never made it very far into the approval process. There are no bills currently being worked on that will change the status of online gambling in the state for the near future. However, with other states quickly adopting online models, this could change things and lead to new legislation in a shorter time frame. In the meantime, there is no history of players getting in any legal trouble for playing online, and they can enjoy offshore casinos as they see fit.