The three land based casinos run by the Choctaw Native American Tribe in Mississippi are quickly working through the process to offer sports betting in the state. In addition to all the casino bonuses these casinos offer, legal sports betting will be a welcome addition to the casinos repertoire of games and other attractions.
The three casinos are the Golden Moon at Pearl River Resort, the Silver Star Casino, and the Bok Homa Casino. The casinos will offer betting on professional and college sports and horse racing.
The three Choctaw casinos have an advantage against non-Native American casinos in that their procedures for getting regulatory permission to begin sports betting operations are more lenient than for other privately run casinos. The casinos are not regulated by the Mississippi State Gaming Commission as the other casinos are.
However, the many other casinos operating along the Gulf Coast and on the Mississippi River may be able to begin sports betting as early as July of this year so whatever head start the Choctaw casinos may enjoy in June they will lose in July.
Each of the Choctaw casinos has been in the news in other respects as well as for their fast move to begin sports betting.
Silver Star Casino
This casino is far more than a casino and hotel complex. It recently won a multitude of awards from Southern Gaming Magazine. The awards were: Best Golf Course, Best Spa, Best Entertainment Center, Best Poker Room, Best Buffet, and Best Overall Casino Property.
The Silver Star casino is part of the Pearl River Resort. Long before Singapore and other Far East countries adopted the Integrated Resort idea for land based casinos, Pearl River Resort had already been there and done that. The resort is also home to the Golden Moon Casino and Hotel complex.
In addition to the casinos, the resort features the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club, the Geyser Falls Water Park, eleven restaurants, a complex of shopping from high end to moderately priced items, an entertainment center with live shows year round, and a full-service spa.
It is quite telling that the resort has won awards for each of its individual features. The existence of family-themed activities, golf, entertainment, shopping, and a spa, means that people can come to the resort and eschew entering the casinos at all.
The Silver Star has a fitness center that is open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm every day, an outdoor pool, and 75 suites among its 500 rooms. If you want to golf, you can stay on the grounds at the golf club.
The Silver Star also has huge conference rooms with every possible amenity.
Bok Homa Casino
This casino complex is also run by the Choctaw Nation but it has a major difference: it is completely non-alcoholic. It is much smaller than its sister casino hotel complexes in the Pearl River Resort but it serves a very different function.
It also doesn’t have a hotel, a slew of restaurants, and the many other amenities of the Pearl River casinos. It exists essentially for one day trips to a small, compact casino with no alcohol. There are those who simply eschew imbibing and prefer to play in a no-alcohol environment and there are those who need to avoid alcohol for their safety and well-being.
The Bok Homa Casino thus serves a very important purpose.
The Casinos of Mississippi
Many of the casinos were rebuilt after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. The Mississippi coast was utterly devastated by the storm. The 28 casinos that run along the coast and the Mississippi River all have excellent casino gaming and accommodations. They don’t however reach the level of the Pearl River Casinos.
As we mentioned above, this is the idea that has led Singapore, the Philippines, and Japan to open their countries up to land based casinos. The idea is simply to have a complex that could attract a wide range of people some of whom would enjoy all the available amenities without stepping into the casino at all.
Sports Betting is not without Controversy
Although the Choctaw casinos are on board with sports betting on professional and college sports, not everyone is happy with the idea of taking bets on college games. There is a big difference between college sports and professional sports in the eyes of many advocates of sports betting.
Of course, the opponents of sports betting in its entirety see little quantitative difference between professional and amateur sports. Here are the two areas of concern of people who support sports betting on professional games but not on college games. Note that the sportsbooks at the casinos will not take bets on high school games.
The Age of the Players
College players are all about 18-22 years old. It is true that some pro athletes are also in their early twenties but they are surrounded by players in their thirties. This doesn’t mean that a thirty-something professional athlete is so well experienced in the ways of the world, but they are far more experienced than players seemingly just out of high school.
The young age of college athletes and the lack of elder statesmen in the locker room, on the buses or planes when the team travels, and in the hotels when the team is on the road, simply mean that the young athletes may be more susceptible to being turned by a professional gambler and game fixer. It has happened in the college game before.
College athletes receive no income for playing. The minimum salary for professional athletes in the highest leagues is in the high six figure range. This discrepancy also may make a college player who realizes that he or she has little likelihood of a successful career in professional sports to be turned by gamblers.
Whether sports betting will prove to be a big boon or a big headache to states remains to be seen. The same is true for the concerns some have about betting on college games. It would be sad indeed if we were to learn the lesson the hard way either regarding sports betting in general or more specifically regarding the pressures that college athletes might feel to serve gambling interests rather than sporting interests.