Bill would make sports gambling legal in Tennessee

Sports Betting
Posted at 10:19 PM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-27 23:29:23-05

NASHILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — You could soon be betting legally on your favorite sports teams here in Tennessee. A bill passed one hurdle Wednesday.

"We're talking about Fantasy sports, we're talking about drag racing to auto racing; we're talking about football to basketball. "

Representative Rick Staples wants to legalize sports betting in Tennessee. Right now, most gambling in the state is against the law. That mean no casinos, no sports books, not even bingo.

"When it comes to casino gambling, table gambling the state of Tennessee is upwards of losing $3 billion dollars annually because of our neighboring states," said Staples.

However, the Supreme Court last year opened the door for legalized sports betting for many states when it struck down a 1992 federal law.

"We have a lot of bordering states that already passed this piece of legislation" said Staples.

Nearby states like Mississippi and West Virginia offer legal betting while states like Arkansas and Kentucky have legislation in the works.

Tennessee's proposal would place a 10 percent tax on sports gambling. It would also allow local jurisdictions to vote if they want to bet on professional sports teams like the Tennessee Titans or Nashville predators in their communities.

Staples says this is a new form of revenue for the states that doesn't involve raising taxes.

"A percentage that would go to K through 12 and a percentage that would go to general fund; but for locals they would have dollars that would go to education as far as career training and technical training," Staples said.

This bill would also create the Tennessee gaming commission consisting of nine members who would be responsible for the enforcement and compliance of the rules if the bill becomes law.