TN Governor Allows Sports Gambling Bill to Pass Without Signature
Even though he is against legalized gambling, Tennessee’s Governor Bill Lee says he will permit a sports gambling bill to become law without signing the piece of legislation. After the House of Representatives voted its approval for the bill last week with a vote of 58 to 37, the Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that would allow for online sports betting to start as of July 1, while keeping it illegal to place bets at brick-and-mortar operations. The Senate bill passed narrowly with a vote of 19 to 12.
The Governor’s Stance on Gambling
It’s not a surprise that Governor Lee has taken this approach with the bill. He’s been against sports betting from the beginning. Additionally, he was one of the leading voices in forcing the original bills to get completely overhauled. Laine Arnold, Governor Lee’s press secretary, shared the Governor’s feelings and thoughts with the media:
“The Governor has said he does not believe that the expansion of gambling is best, but he recognizes that many in the legislature found this to be an issue they want to explore further. He plans to let this become law without his signature.”
About Senate Bill 16
SB 16 has been constructed to do the following:
- Authorize sports betting in Tennessee only in jurisdictions that approve sports betting by local option election;
- Impose a tax on gaming revenue in the amount of 10%;
- Devote 40% of the tax to the general fund for general appropriations, 30% to Tennessee colleges, and 30% to local governments for infrastructure and education;
- Establishes the nine-member Tennessee Gaming Commission to regulate sports gambling;
- Authorizes the Commission to collaborate with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for purposes of enforcement.
Those who would be prohibited from placing sports wagers would include anyone with influence over a game’s outcome, those who run sports gambling operations, and any athletes or teams involved. Additionally, bettors would have to be at least 21 years of age to participate in sports betting. It’s anticipated that the bill would bring in an estimated $50 million each year in tax revenue.
Sports Betting in the US
The Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting in May 2018 and, since then, numerous states have passed legislation legalizing the activity. So far, eight states in total currently have legal and operational sports betting: Nevada, New Mexico, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Delaware. At least 20 states are currently considering sports gambling legislation. As of now, Tennessee is the only state that has limited sports betting to just online.
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