History was in Mississippi last month as two MGM Resorts International properties, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi and Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica, held simultaneous events to usher in the era of legal sports wagering. The resorts both accepted their first sports wagers on August 1, and now share in the distinction of taking the first sports wagers in Mississippi under newly created state regulations permitting licensed casino operators to establish legal sports books, according to press releases.

As a part of the MGM Resorts International portfolio, Beau Rivage and Gold Strike launch sports wagering operations with the strong support of MGM’s more than 25 years of sports wagering operations experience in Nevada, where the company’s resorts combine to write more than 4 million sports wagers each year with an annual handle of more than $1 billion.

“MGM Resorts is proud to once again assume the leadership position in the hospitality industry,” said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. “Sports wagering is a rapidly growing, exciting new entertainment opportunity for our company. We were proud to take the first sports wager in Atlantic City in June and today the first legal sports wager in two locations in Mississippi.” 

A few days after the MGM launch, Boyd Gaming opened sports books at its two Mississippi properties—IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi, and Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Tunica—following the receipt of final approval from the Mississippi Gaming Commission. 

The sports-betting operations are Boyd Gaming’s first sports books outside of the state of Nevada.  Boyd Gaming currently operates 10 sports books at its properties across southern Nevada.

“The debut of our sports books in Mississippi, together with our recently-announced strategic partnership with FanDuel Group, are important milestones for our company as we begin to participate in the expansion of sports betting across the U.S.,” said Keith Smith, president and CEO of Boyd Gaming. “Expanded sports betting is an exciting growth opportunity, offering us another way to diversify our business and expand our appeal—and Boyd Gaming is well-positioned to be a leader in this emerging business.”

Both Boyd and MGM Resorts are using sports betting solutions provided by International Game Technology PLC (IGT).

Caesars Entertainment has also committed to sports wagering in Mississippi, opening sportsbooks in two of its properties last month—Horseshoe Tunica Hotel & Casino and Harrah’s Gulf Coast Hotel & Casino in Biloxi. Both these properties will utilize the OpenBet product suite from Scientific Games to power sports wagering platforms. Caesars plans to follow the retail openings with the introduction of mobile sports betting throughout New Jersey on the Caesars Casino & Sports mobile app. 

“The recent Supreme Court ruling allows us to expand our sports betting digital and mobile offerings into new markets,” said Mark Frissora, president and CEO of Caesars Entertainment. “We recognize that our customers expect exciting new experiences, which is why we will continue to offer new products through our mobile and digital platforms and inside our properties.”