Will Horse Racing Return to Mississippi?

Currently, there is no horse racing events carried out in the state of Mississippi. However, the presence of casinos here and horse races in neighboring states means that there is increased speculation that the sport may return here in the future.

The History of Horse Racing in Mississippi

Horse racing was popular in Mississippi at the end of the 18th century, when it was a Spanish territory.  European settlers raced their horses in a track that ran from the bluff to the river, while the Choctaw riders would carry out their races in the opposite direction, to avoid the risk of ending up in the river. 

The Fleetfield Race Track in Natchez was built at this time, being completed in 1795. This became a popular gambling and recreational spot, with gambling houses appearing in Natchez-under-the-Hill in the following years.  Other race tracks sprung up, such as Girault’s course near Natchez, where purses could reach $600 in the 1820s.

Betting on horses was just one of the many types of gambling that were carried out in the area at that time, along with card games and a variety of sports. It was reported that horse racing was hugely popular for many years, with breeders bringing high-quality horses across from Europe.    

The Current Legal Situation in Mississippi

In 2018, sports betting became legal here again. There are now sportsbooks that operate in this part of the country, as well as casinos and lotteries.

It is worth remembering that online gambling is still not legal here. Sports gambling, poker, and other activities of this type are currently only permitted in land-based establishments such as the many casinos that are dotted across Mississippi.

A look at the Mississippi Gaming Commission website confirms that sports betting is now legal here. But it goes on to state that “internet gambling is illegal under state law.” Is this likely to change anytime soon?

No horse races have been run in the state for a long time. However, that may change soon if the legal situation allows it, as it seems clear that there is demand for this gambling option. 

For the moment, horse racing fans in Mississippi need to look to races in other parts of the world, although pari-mutuel wagers are allowed in casinos. Some of the options include looking on Twinspires.com for the Kentucky Derby contenders or searching for some action in other races around the country.

Abroad, you could check out the odds for huge events like the Melbourne Cup in Australia, the Japan Cup in Tokyo, and the Sheema Classic in Dubai. There are exciting horse races carried out in different venues pretty much all year-round.

What Does the Future Hold?

Some ongoing court cases may change the future of horse racing here in the near future. It is thought that the outcome of these cases may be the legalization of all types of sports betting in the state.  

On the other hand, there are other proposed bills that seek to restrict sports betting here again. The situation is still quite confusing, and it may be a few years before everything is fully cleared up.  With people on both side of the debate putting forward their points of view, it is going to be impossible to keep everyone happy.  

With such a strong history of gambling and horse racing, it is easy to imagine racetracks in Mississippi becoming hugely popular again if they were allowed to open. There is certainly an appetite here for horse racing to return, so it is a question of waiting to see what legal moves are made in the near future. 




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