Editorials

The Coast needs to get to work right now to take advantage of sports betting this fall

Odds are displayed on a screen at a sports book in Las Vegas. The Supreme Court has overturned a federal law that banned sports books in most states.
Odds are displayed on a screen at a sports book in Las Vegas. The Supreme Court has overturned a federal law that banned sports books in most states. AP file 2015

Sports betting will be a game changer.

This will be the largest expansion of gambling in Mississippi since casinos were legalized in the early 1990s. Mississippi is poised to be the only state in the Southeast to offer this latest evolution in gambling when football season gets under way this fall.

The influx of tourists ready to put their hard-earned cash on the favorite college or pro team will be enormous.

Mississippi has often benefited from being at the forefront of the gambling revolution in the United States. It was one of the first states on board with casinos.

And, its gambling laws and gaming commission have served the state well.

With a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that legalizing sports betting should be left up to each state.

And we're confident it will bring superior regulation and guidance as casinos enter a new era.

The Legislature, with considerable foresight, has positioned the state to take full advantage of this opportunity.

This will not be an attraction for the gamblers who frequent our casinos. It will add to that player base with gamblers who would never drive or fly to Mississippi to pull a slot handle, roll the dice or watch the wheel spin.

But for the chance to bet on Ole Miss vs. LSU? Michigan vs. Ohio State? Auburn vs. Alabama?

Wow. What time does the shuttle leave?

This will be an exciting time and we don't have a lot of time to get ready. You know what they say, no one forgets a first impression.

Many of these new gamblers will be seeing Mississippi for the first time.

We're confident the casinos will be ready. They have provided the best hospitality and great customer service for years. They have this.

However, first the visitors must get to the casinos.

And some of our main roads look pretty shabby. The state, cities and counties should work together to make every road leading from neighboring states to the Coast casinos a scenic byway.

Imagine if you first impression is a trash strewn highway. Hardly what we'd call welcoming.

The good news is we have plenty of time to spruce this place up. But we should start immediately. This should be a great boost for tourism — when the first new visitors spread the word. It's up to us to make sure they are spreading the right words.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

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