The future of sports betting legalization remains under question in Tennessee, as state lawmakers have shared their fears associated with a bill under which online sports betting would be officially permitted.
A bipartisan piece of legislation that was the first bill presented to the Tennessee House in the latest legislative session and which sponsor is Representative Rick Staples is now facing opposition in the House State Committee. The Senate Government Operations Committee has put off taking any action for the time being.
SB 16, the Senate version of the sports betting legalization bill was officially introduced by Senator Steve Dickerson. Originally, the proposed piece of legislation sought to give the green light to both regular land-based sports betting facilities and online sports betting in Tennessee. However, an amendment in the first version of the bill was made by Representative Staples who decided to remove the provision regarding in-person betting.
According to Staples, it is online sports betting which would provide Tennessee with an advantage in comparison to other states such as Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky or Arkansas.
The sports betting legalization bill, however, faced opposition from both Democrats and Republicans, who have shared their concerns with the possible addition of the new form of gambling to the local gambling sector.
New Committee Hearing of the Sports Betting Bill Set for April 2nd
Representative Jason Powell was one Committee members who do not approve of the proposed bill. Previously, he tried to add a number of amendments to the filed piece of legislation, but he was unsuccessful. The amendments, however, were backed by several fellow Committee members, who urged state lawmakers to put off further action on the bill for another week.
Under the amended bill of Representative Staples, sports betting would be regulated by the state lottery commission. The latter would also be granted 85% of the taxes imposed on the new form of gambling, while the remaining 15% are set to be distributed among local government entities. Sports betting is set to fund educational programs, as well as Tennessee infrastructure.
In case that the proposed bill is approved by the state lawmakers, a 10% tax on sports wagers made in Tennessee is to be imposed. According to some preliminary projections, legal sports betting could generate $5-million revenue to the state on an annual basis.
A new heading of the proposed piece of sports betting legislation is set to be held in the Committee on April 2nd.
Some of the bill’s opponents cited moral concerns with the new form of betting, and more specifically, with the possible risks for young athletes falling victims to offers for match fixtures. According to these Committee members, it is much more important to keep the integrity of sports intact than to bring new revenue to the state.