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Mississippi Choctaw Casinos to Offer Sports Betting

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has approved the changes made to its gaming regulations, which will allow sports betting.

In addition to sports betting, the amendments green-lighted at a tribal council meeting will also introduce horse racing.

The casinos what will offer sports betting are the Silver Star Hotel and Casino, Golden Moon Hotel and Casino at Pearl River Resort and Bok Homa Casino, and according to available information, they might start sooner than other operators in the state. The reason for this is the fact the sports betting regulations in Mississippi cannot be approved before later in June.

Sports betting in Mississippi will be land and water-based, while only licensed casinos will be able to offer mobile casinos.

The Compact Wasn’t a Problem

The Choctaw tribe operate casino under a compact with Mississippi, and amending them has proven to be quite difficult in other states, including Florida and California.

Daniel Wallach, an expert on gaming and sports law, said the tribes in many states were going to need amendments to their existing compacts in order to operate a sports pool or sports book. He pointed out the amendments could be time-consuming and could impose a higher revenue-sharing obligation on the tribes.

The Choctaw are eager to move forward with sports betting since the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) allows them to offer Class III gaming so long as the state itself allows such game. However, it requires an agreement between the state and the tribe, which will explicitly enable the tribe to engage in that specific form of gambling.

When it comes to the Choctaw, both conditions have been met. First of all, Mississippi legalized single-game sports betting last year, becoming the third state do to so after Nevada and New Jersey.

Under the provisions of the current compact, sports pools is defined as an “allowable gaming”, but only if the wagering is regulated by a state law. That condition was fulfilled in 2017, which means there are no obstacles for the tribe to offer sports betting.

A Great Position for the Tribe

In Mississippi, the compact forged in 1994 needs no changes. Language in the regulations reads that sports betting can be conducted in tribal casinos “if such wagers are allowed on non-tribal lands under the laws of the state.”

The current compact, in effect for nearly two and a half decades, requires no changes whatsoever, since it clearly states that sports betting is allowed in tribal casinos provided such wagers are allowed on non-tribal lands as well.

Commenting on the situation, gaming attorney Jeff Ifrah sad some tribes were in a great position to immediately enter the land-based sports betting market as soon as their state-licensed land-based casino competitors do so, and even if authorizing legislation didn’t explicitly mention them.

The tribal council made other changes, addressing other gambling options, such as skill-based games, DFS, esports, and slot games that award community-based bonuses.

The first resort to offer sports betting will be Pearl River Resort.  Phyliss Anderson, Choctaw Resorts Development Enterprise board chairman, and tribal chief said the resort was very excited about the opportunity to offer new products to its customers.

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the federal law banning sports betting.