Mississippi casinos reported significant gaming revenue gains in August, the first month of legal sports wagering in the state.
Figures released this week by the Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) show the state’s commercial casinos generated combined gaming revenue of $181.7m in August, a 7.5% improvement over the same month last year. (The numbers don’t include the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians’ three casinos.)
In geographic terms, the dominant coastal casino segment improved 10.5% to $108.7m, while the northern segment rose 3.3% to $49.6m and the central segment gained 3% to $23.3m.
August was the first month of legal sports wagering at Mississippi casinos, and the qualifying venues reported handling $6.3m worth of wagers last month. For the record, this is $3.5m less than the handle figure the MGC issued earlier this month, although that figure included the first three days of September (and the first weekend of NFL action).
Of this $6.3m handle, baseball claimed the lion’s share at $3.3m, while football came in just over $1.3m. Sports parlay cards generated $1.4m, while ‘other’ sports and basketball contributed $154k and $97k, respectively.
The state’s sportsbooks claimed $645k of this bounty for their own, equating to a respectable hold of 10.3%. Despite football placing second in the handle race, football revenue claimed top honors with over $243k, suggesting a lot of Mississippi college football fans were betting with their hearts, not their heads. Parlay cards ranked second, with $233k and baseball placed third with $164k.
Mississippi was one of only four US states that reported a year-on-year casino gaming revenue decline in 2017, according to the American Gaming Association’s latest State of the States report, falling 2% to just over $2.1b last year.
This year saw the state start off with three straight months in which gaming revenue was either flat or below the same months last year, but that was followed by two months of year-on-year gains, before things went south again in June and July. So while August’s gains can’t entirely be credited to the new sports betting product, it definitely didn’t hurt.