The gambling picture is now one of health and vigour, just as it was when the state was first discovered. In between though, the landscape has appeared bleak and been in ruins, quite literally…
Sports betting was rife in the region among the Native Americans who saw to the introduction of the first horse racing track in the state - the Fleetfield Race Track in Natchez, in addition to other games they were fond of. Their fondness of games and gambling led to a way of life centered around wagering money.
A version of modern day Lacrosse that would see two teams use long sticks to try and hit the opposition’s goalpost with a ball, is thought to have been the birth of sports betting in the state. ‘Ishtaboli’, or stickball, as its also known, was a momentous event for the area which attracted people from far and wide.
Attracting an audience has never been an issue for Miss however.
Thanks to the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River, the state maintained a healthy footfall even early on with the numbers passing through from many parts of the world.
A combination of opposition to the gambling industry and then the devastation caused to the state to by Hurricane Camille led to the decline of the industry. Whatever wagering occurred, did so underground but even this was rare.
Having allowed for the gambling industry to lay dormant from the late 60’s onwards, state legislators passed the Mississippi Gaming Control Act in 1990 in order to see the industry restored to life. With the new law allowing for the existence of riverboat casinos, the famous Mississippi gambling scene, was once again the focal point of the state.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was also introduced for the Native American tribes to operate casinos on tribal land.
Lightening was to strike once more though when Hurricane Katrina blew through the region in 2005, demolishing all the major casinos. Once more, the gambling industry found itself having to start from scratch.
After a period of rebuilding, the industry is thriving once more and is now home to 29 casinos operating across seven Mississippi states while the industry has come full circle with sports betting now set to become a prominent feature of the gambling landscape again.
Even better for locals, it’s here to stay. The popularity of gambling in general will see sports betting thrive in Miss, despite proposals from nearby states to legalise sports betting also.