Gold Strike opens era of legal sports betting in Mississippi

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TUNICA, Miss. — Wednesday marks yet another milestone in Mississippi gambling history.

Gold Strike Casino and Beau Rivage Resort and Casino took the first sports wagers in Mississippi under newly created state regulations permitting licensed casino operators to establish legal sports books.

Michael Murrell walked away with cash after betting on baseball.

“I told my wife I going to be the winner. I knew what game to bet on,” he said. “It’s simple. You just tell them what you want to bet, and you just have to know the number.”

Murrell says it’s all about the odds, and it’s not hard to play.

David Tsai is the president of Gold Strike Casino.  He says bringing sports betting to Mississippi makes the state the only one in the southeast region and the SEC to do so.

“We are proud that Mississippi is on the forefront. The customer evolves and we have to evolve with the times.”

It’s a change Murrell thinks is for the best.

“Is there a lot of illegal gaming? Yeah, there is. There will always be some of that, but this will eliminate this because it’s too easy to do this,” he said.

Pushing the wrong things out could lead to good things for the state, money wise.

“Sports betting is a big industry. It brings in billions. It might as well be legal, because if it’s under the table the government doesn’t get anything,” Murrell said.

The casino estimates by the time football season rolls around, the sports book at Gold Strike will keep a packed house.

According to MGM Resorts, once sports betting started in New Jersey there were $16 million in wagers in just the first two weeks.

That boosted overall gaming revenues to a record month of more than $65 million, the best in their 15 year history.

That’s the kind of start they are hoping for.

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