The Choctaw Indian tribe opened what is reported to be the first instance of tribal ran sports betting outside of Nevada.
Sportsbook at Timeout Lounge, located inside the Golden Moon Hotel and Casino officially opened in Philadelphia, MS. Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson was elated at the launch of his tribe’s sportsbook.
“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,” Anderson said.
Golden Moon has traditional in-person wagering at this time, but they expect to be able to host mobile wagering through an account-based service soon.
“We anticipate account-based mobile wagering on the premises,” said Neal Atkinson, Director of Table Games at the Golden Moon.
“—and I have to stress the ‘on the premises’ part,” said Atkinson. “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.”
This follows the same protocols established by other states that enforce strict rules on where bettors will be able to place wagers from. Patrons will also be able to use kiosks on the casino floor that are designated for sports betting.
There is a special room designated exclusively for sports betting, something that Golden Moon believes sets their venue apart from other casino-turned-sportsbooks. The Sportsbook at Timeout Lounge is fitted with 20 TV’s, three betting stations, a full bar and 12 large odds boards showing all the different games and scores.
Since the Choctaw tribe is its own governed entity, their sports betting operation is not regulated by the Mississippi Gaming Commission. However, the regulations in place are close to what the MGC imposes.
All Mississippi sports betting is set to be taxed at 12% with 8% going to the state and the remaining 4% going to local governments. As far as how profitable the Choctaw tribe is with sports betting, the true figures may never come out. According to Tommy Shepherd, an attorney with Jones Walker, the Choctaw tribe typically doesn’t release their revenue figures.
“I expect [sports betting] is going to be a positive for them but to what extent, that’s up in the air,” Shepherd said.
It is true that Golden Moon is looking at a positive environment. They are located about two hours from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home to one of the biggest teams in the NCAA. This sets up Alabama fans traveling over to place legal wagers in a Mississippi establishment.
SEC football is expected to be the sportsbook’s biggest market for the time being, especially with the lack of mobile betting options. However, the fact that college football just started up again puts the Golden Moon in pole position to establish a strong foothold in the local market.