States’ bet on sports gambling brings underwhelming results

    A year after the Supreme Court’s ruling, the disappointing results of sports betting have perhaps been felt nowhere more profoundly than in Tunica, Mississippi, about five and a half hours north of Baton Rouge, The New York Times reports.

    So far, sports betting revenue has brought in only half of what Tunica officials expected, and state tax revenue from Tunica’s casinos, about $630 million annually, is just a fraction of what it once was.

    The disappointing early results in Tunica and elsewhere across the country counters the optimistic projections numerous Louisiana legislators have been citing in their quest to legalize sports betting here.

    Scott Barber, regional president of Caesars Mid-South and chairman of the Tunica Tourism Commission, says that the crowds the casinos had hoped for had not materialized. But he said it was premature to judge whether sports betting had been a failure.

    In all, about a dozen states are considering sports gambling bills right now. But lawmakers and gambling analysts say only two or three of those states are likely to approve sports betting this legislative session, in part because of disappointing experiences in states where it was recently made legal like Mississippi, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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    Editor’s note: This story has been updated since its original publication to show that Tunica, Mississippi, is roughly 375 miles from Baton Rouge, not one hour’s drive. 

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