Categories: Gambling LawsIndustry

Tennessee Sports Betting Bill Faces Opposition

Lawmakers in Tennessee have been working to legalize sports betting for months now. It looked as if this popular form of gambling would finally be legalized this month, yet things have taken a turn. The Tennessee sports betting bill is now facing opposition from both Republicans and Democrats.

It’s a disappointing setback for gambling fans in the state. Sports betting here isn’t completely dead, yet it may be a while before it becomes completely legal. Let’s take a look at why the most recent bill was shut down, and what the future of sports betting here will look like.

Tennessee’s Road to Legalize Sports Betting

Back in July of 2018, the US Supreme Court famously ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional. This opened the doors for states to set their own laws on sports gambling. Within months, a number of states including New Jersey legalized this industry.

Certain government officials in Tennessee began expressing interest in opening up the sports betting market earlier this year. Both Democrats and Republicans filed legislation that would make it legal to place bets on sporting events inside the state lines. Many lawmakers across the state were supporting the bill.

Bills HB 666 and SB 1055 would use revenue earned from sports betting to fund education inside Tennessee. The state would earn a 10% tax on all sports betting operations. Betting operators would face up to $50,000 in fees for breaking the rules set in place. Unsurprisingly, the State Senate asked for some changes to these bills.

Last week, State Representative Rick Staples presented an amended bill that included some major changes. Under this bill, sports betting would only take place online. Once again, politicians in these state are opposing the new Tennessee sports betting bill.

Official Responses to Tennessee Sports Betting Bill

Rick Staples is claiming that Tennessee is losing out on $3 billion annually to states with legalized sports betting. None of the nearby states allow online gambling. If Tennessee allows online sports gambling, many people would travel inside the state to place bets.

There are some major points of contention, though. Democratic Representative Jason Powell is making his objections clear. Powell is trying to introduce new legislation that would make gambling on Sunday’s illegal, and reduce the sports betting licensing fee from $750,000 to just $75,000.

Another State Representative, Johnny Shaw, is worried about the potential for game-fixing, and the impact that legalized sports betting will have on society.

I think we’re moving down the wrong path when we start legalizing gambling online,” Shaw said. “Folks are going to be sitting up in church on Sunday and everywhere else they’re going to be playing.

A number of Republicans are against the bill, too. Rush Bricken, a Republican from Tullahoma wants to ensure enough money will be set to curb gambling addiction.

It would be remiss for us to get this legislation all the way through without serious additional money for gambling addiction,” he said.

Will Tennessee Legalize Sports Betting This Year?

This is unclear. There are some powerful companies and individuals supporting the bill, yet this will be for nothing unless the State Senate can come to an agreement. The Senate Government Operations Committee voted 8-1 against passing the sports betting bill. Another vote on the bill will be taking place soon.

It’s clear that new amendments are necessary. State politicians raised some legitimate concerns. Fortunately, there are still a number of amazing US online gambling sites available in Tennessee. Many of these websites offer a wide range of amazing sports betting odds every day.

It remains to be seen whether or not lawmakers will agree to the new Tennessee sports betting bill. Do you think this happens in 2019? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Kevin Oldroyd

A longtime sports and gambling enthusiast, Kevin looks to present up-to-date and reliable information for readers. If he’s not writing, he’s probably watching MMA or playing blackjack.

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