Tennessee Looking To Legalise Sports Betting

Viktor Vangelov | Published 8 Jan 2019, 3:59 p.m.

As we have mentioned on a couple of occasions before, 2019 is going to be a year where at least several US states will legalise sports betting, following the Supreme Court decision according to which each state is free to decide whether it wants to legalise sports betting or not. As there is no federal ban, some states legalised sports betting in 2018 and are currently enjoying the benefits of a regulated market, whereas a number of other states have started the procedure. In the near future we might have a situation where the number of states where sports betting is legal will exceed the number of states where it is not permitted. 

Cross-Party Support For Legalisation

So far, sports betting is legal in eight states, but there are few states where a bill has already been passed and that will enable them to legalise sports betting pretty soon. 

Now we can add Tennessee to the list of states that have started the procedure to legalise sports betting. One of the State Representatives have already submitted a bill to the State Senate of the Volunteer State. 

The bill will be known as the Sports Gaming Act if it gets passed by the local authorities to become a law. Local authorities throughout Tennessee will have the power to determine whether they want to legalise sports betting in their respective area or not. Residents and local communities will be in a position to call on for a vote on sports betting if they get at least 10% of the citizens behind the idea. 

Rick Staples, a Democrat SR is the one behind the idea, but Republican SR Brian Kelsey is working on a separate version for the Upper House. In a statement for the local press, Kelsey stated that his idea is to grant Memphis and the other large cities in the state authority to decide whether they want to place the sports betting facilities. Of course, local authorities will get a fraction of all sports betting revenue. 

Staples, who put forward the initial proposal said that billions of dollars leave the state and go to neighbouring states. He argued that sports betting is a new potential stream of revenue which could be very beneficial for Tennessee and we can conclude that this is usually the main reason why states legalise sports betting. 

According to the original proposal, 40% of all tax revenue would go to a state fund, 30% to education and the remaining 30% will also be used by local schools and on infrastructural projects. 

Virginia To Follow

Tennessee isn’t the only Southern state that is considering sports betting legalisation, it appears that there are a lot of proponents of betting legalisation in Virginia as well. Former Speaker Bill Howell was one of the strongest opponents of gambling and betting legalisation, so now that he’s retired, many lawmakers feel that the way to legalisation is paved. 

Just as it was the case with Tennessee, proponents of legalisation are worried that the state will keep losing money to neighbouring states if it doesn’t do something about the issue, i.e. if it doesn’t legalise betting. Danville, Portsmouth and Bristol are among the cities looking to benefit from the potential legalisation and it everything works according to plan, we may see a sports betting legalisation bill put forward pretty soon.