Two weeks ago, Tennessee was discussing whether or not a sports betting bill should be brought to a vote before the state’s House. Now, the House has finished discussing the matter and rendered a decision. In a very close 58-37 tally, the bill was in fact approved.
Now that the sports betting bill has been approved, it will be sent to the state’s Senate Committee for further approval by vote. This past Wednesday, the Senate’s Finance Committee also approved the bill, which will in fact prompt the Senate for a decisive vote.
37 members of the state’s House voted against the bill, one of those was Representative Andy Hold. His main reasoning for opposing the bill stems from the belief that a bill like this serves only to encourage issues the state has with addiction. Not only that, but he believes that parents will neglect their children in favor of gambling what little money they do have.
Despite Hold’s objections, the bill was in fact approved. If the bill passes a vote within the senate, it will be sent to Governor Bill Lee. This may pose a problem for the bill, because Governor Lee has previously made comments making his opposition to gambling clear.
It does seem though that Governor Lee may in fact sign off on the bill if it does reach him. Glen Cascada, Speaker for the House, and many other lawmakers hold a strong belief that Lee won’t opt to veto the bill despite his own agenda.
While the bill does call for sports betting legalization, how much you can participate in it is in fact limited. House Bill 1 permits you to place wagers on sporting events, but only online. This is in stark contrast to several other states debating legalization, as those often include language permitting wagers to be placed only at in-person brick and mortar establishments.
Much of what is fueling the success of this bill is how much revenue Tennessee stands to gain from the legalization of sports betting. It is well known that sports betting is conducted illegally within the state, which means there is already plenty of instances where tax revenue is being missed out on. Capitalizing on this and any new bettors is expected to bring in up to $50 million in annual revenue for the state.
Before sports betting is legal in Tennessee, it does require approval by the state’s Senate and Governor, but it does look like there is a great likelihood of that happening.