MGM Resorts International has announced that its Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi and Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica, have commenced legal sports betting in the state of Mississippi.

Hosting simultaneous events at the properties located at opposite ends of the Magnolia State, a number of local dignitaries and sporting legends were welcomed up to the newly constructed sports wagering windows, as the Mississippi gaming industry entered a new era of sports entertainment.

Jim Murren, chairman and chief executive officer of MGM Resorts International, stated: “MGM Resorts is proud to once again assume the leadership position in the hospitality industry.

“Sports wagering is a rapidly growing, exciting new entertainment opportunity for our company. We were proud to take the first sports wager in Atlantic City in June and today the first legal sports wager in two locations in Mississippi.”

The date of the first sports wager in the state also coincides with the 26th anniversary of the first casino bet made in Mississippi’s modern casino age, done so at the Isle of Capri in Biloxi.

Through this latest introduction resort executives are anticipating a fresh surge of interest and excitement, with a number of economic benefits both for the resorts themselves and the wider community also set to be felt

“This is a banner day for Beau Rivage and all of Mississippi and we are proud to lead the way on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Bill Boasberg, president & chief operating officer of Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. “Here in the heart of the South, home to some of the most ardent sports fans in the world, we open a whole new era of sports entertainment and we do it on the eve of football season. What could be better?”

David Tsai, president and chief operating officer of Gold Strike Casino Resort, added: “This is a defining moment in Gold Strike’s nearly 24-year history.

“Sports fans have long waited for this day and we are proud to be the first to offer our customers this exciting new opportunity to engage with their favourite sports and teams. We are honoured to be a part of Mississippi gaming history.”

MGM’s resorts combine to write more than 4 million sports wagers each year, with an annual handle of more than $1 billion.

Watch the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino welcome sports betting in the video below.