(Associated Press) – The Pearl River Resort and Bok Homa Casino, both owned and operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, will soon offer sports betting.
The Tribe’s decision follows a ruling in May by the U.S. Supreme Court, which lifted a federal ban on sports betting and allows states to make their own laws regulating the activity.
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Mississippi lawmakers passed their own bill to regulate and tax fantasy sports during the 2017 regular session, handing control over to the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
Regulations allowing sports books at the state’s 28 licensed casinos could be approved as early as June 21, which means casinos could start taking bets 30 days later, the Associated Press reported.
"The gaming commission can regulate (sports betting)," Speaker Pro Tem Greg Snowden said Monday. "I suspect they will initially limit it to casinos."
Snowden, who said he voted for the bill, said he and other legislators knew that the federal sports ban could be lifted, bringing that form of gambling to Mississippi.
"I trust the gaming commission. They have a pretty good record in Mississippi," Snowden said. "I think we’re better off being regulated."
Representative Charles Young Jr., of Meridian, said, "People are going to gamble regardless and it needs to be regulated and it needs to be taxed."
Because of this, Young said he preferred that gambling take place in a controlled environment, such as a casino, where it could be taxed and regulated.
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Following a May 31 Tribal Council meeting, the council unanimously approved the appropriate amendments, adding two sections regarding sports betting, skill-based gaming, fantasy contests, eSports and more, according to a release.
Pearl River Resort will be one of the first casinos to have sports betting because of this, according to a news release distributed on Tuesday.
“The Resort is very excited about the opportunity to offer these new products for our guests in a vibrant and advanced gambling environment,” Phyliss J. Anderson, the Tribal Chief and board chairman, said in a statement. “These newly approved regulations will allow the Resort to remain on the forefront of the gambling market as well as provide additional revenue streams to the Tribe. The Resort will be able to service all our patrons at Bok Homa Casino, Silver Star Hotel and Casino, and Golden Moon Hotel and Casino.”