Mississippi Choctaws Open First Tribal Sports Book
The Sportsbook at Timeout Lounge at the Golden Moon Hotel and Casino at the Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia, Mississippi opened August 29, making the casino’s owners, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the first tribe outside Nevada to offer sports betting. The first wagerer, Eric Johannsen of Hickory, placed a bet on the New Orleans Saints to win the Super Bowl at the end of the season.
Pearl River Resort Interim President and Chief Executive Officer Sonny Johnson said, “What sets our sportsbook apart is that we have a dedicated room for our guests to place their bets on a wide variety of sporting events. The Sportsbook is another great gaming addition for our guests to enjoy on our gaming floor.”
Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson added, “We’re very excited to be one of the very first tribal gaming facilities to offer traditional sports wagering. Our guests can now bet on all professional league sports and major collegiate sporting events on our property.”
The Choctaws also started taking sports bets on September 1 at the Bok Homa casino near Sandersville.
Golden Moon Director of Table Games, Poker, Sportsbook and Bingo Neal Atkinson said in-person wagering will be offered at first, but he stated, “We anticipate adding account-based mobile wagering on the premises, and I have to stress the ‘on the premises’ part. You will have to be there for it to work. That way, people will be able to place money on a wagering account with their phone or tablet anywhere on casino property.” He added in the near future the casino will add kiosks and mobile wagering, allowing guests to place bets anywhere on casino grounds.
Atkinson said sports betting will create 12 to 15 new jobs and also attract new visitors. “We’re hoping to see new people that haven’t been to our resort property before. We want them to experience sports betting but also be exposed to our other offerings like table games and slots, our spa, water park, golf and other amenities,” he said.
The Sportsbook at Timeout Lounge has three betting stations, 20 TV’s, 12 state-of-the-art odds boards displaying games and scores and a full bar.
Regulations allow betting at the resort on all professional and amateur sports contests sanctioned by the NCAA, but not every college event will have a line set to it.
“If the traders establish a line for that event, we’ll have it. With lower division teams, there’s probably not enough information to establish a legitimate line,” Atkinson said.
MGM Resorts properties Beau Rivage in Biloxi and Golden Strike in Tunica became the first two Mississippi casinos to accept wagers on August 1. Penn National’s Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast and Boomtown Casino in Biloxi launched sports betting on August 17, followed by Hollywood Casino Tunica, 1st Jackpot Casino Tunica and Resorts Casino Tunica on August 24.
According to Mississippi Gaming Commission Executive Director Allen Godfrey, at least 20 state-regulated casinos offer sports betting and all 28 are expected to take sports wagers within the next few weeks.