What does Mississippi legalizing sports betting mean for Alabama?

Sports betting now legal in Mississippi
Updated: Aug. 1, 2018 at 10:56 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Want to bet on an upcoming Alabama or Auburn game? Well, it's now legal next door in Mississippi, which means that state could get an influx on money from people in Alabama.

The first legal sports wagers took place Wednesday at the Beau Rivage casino in Biloxi. Gamblers in Mississippi can bet on just about anything from college football, NFL, baseball and basketball. We're told it's an experience that mirrors Las Vegas.

"We're going to take what we would take in Las Vegas. You want to come bet a million dollars on a game? You can come bet a million dollars on a game at the Beau Rivage," said Jay Rood with the Beau Rivage Casino.

Sports gambling will likely send many Alabamians across the state line to test their odds much like lotteries do. Representative Rich Wingo from Tuscaloosa believes sports betting takes the fun out of watching a game.

"When a kid misses a field goal, instead of feeling bad for him now you are going to have people that are probably going to send him death threats because they lost a bunch of money," Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa said.

Wingo played five seasons for the Green Bay Packers. He says every year the FBI would show up in team meetings to talk about sports gambling and how gamblers will try and get involved with players to affect the outcome of a game.

"College sports are going to eventually be compromised and people are going to wonder if that kid missed that field goal on purpose or d ropped that catch on purpose," Wingo said.

A handful of states now allow legal sports betting. In Alabama, you can only bet on greyhound and horse racing. We're told gambling on other sports would need a referendum vote by the people.

It's been about 20 years since Alabama voters got the chance to vote on a lottery. There are casinos in the state but they are on Indian reservations. Alabama is also one of nine states that outlaw daily fantasy sports which is a booming business online.

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