JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Folks across Mississippi are heading to casinos to place their bets. Anticipation is building as players hit the court for March Madness.
“Madness has always lived up to the excitement, whether it's filling out a bracket or watching the game because it is such a big event across the country,” said Jay McDaniel with the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
With Mississippi becoming the fourth state in the country to offer legalized sports betting, the casinos are gearing up for a lot more foot traffic as people bet on their favorite teams.
“We have one of the few things, one of the live betting during the games,” said Riverwalk Sports Book Manager Anthony Pena.
Pena says there has been a steady crowd of sports bettors since sports betting was legalized last year. With Ole Miss and Mississippi State playing in the NCAA Tournament, he believes that should also incite sports bettors to try their luck.
“We are expecting a big turnout. We just had $100,000 winner about two weeks ago, not on March Madness, but on a different game, but we do have those big winners every day,” said Pena.
“We will be watching revenue numbers to see how they do, and just as a fan of college basketball, I will be watching because I want our state teams to do well,” said Jay McDaniel.
McDaniel is the Deputy Director for The Mississippi Gaming Commission. He says casinos will not be the only winners during March Madness and is optimistic sports betting will also have positive ripple effect on the state and tourism.
“We’re expecting a boost not only in the gaming revenues, but also visits to our properties. There is excitement because it is not just a one-day event like the Super Bowl, it’s multiple weeks."