NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Online sports betting will be legal on July 1, but you won’t be able to place bets until November at the earliest.
Sportsbook-style online betting was legalized by the state legislature during the 2019 session. Representative Rick Staples wanted to bring a new stream of revenue to the state and keep the dollars of Tennesseans from going to nearby states with legal gambling.
The program will allow companies to create gambling websites or phone applications for people to bet on collegiate level or professional sports.
Before any of that can happen, the state lottery and a sports betting advisory committee will have to create rules and regulations for the program. Then, companies will have to pass through a state screening before building their own gambling platform for people to use.
"This is a historical piece of legislation that passed. We just want to get it right," said rep. Staples.
Staples said the earliest that will be completed is by November.
Companies will also pay $750,000 a year to operate in the state. The taxes from the program will split between the state lottery, local government and the Department of Mental Health.
"There's a percentage going to the lottery board, there's a percentage going to the department of mental health and 15% going to locals for infrastructure and road improvement. That's based off of the taxation and growth of that taxation from what the company's pay," said Staples.
"We hope that the board spends a significant amount of the money gained back into mental health treatment, gambling addiction treatment for people who don't have the resources to cover it," said Brian Sullivan with Addiction Campuses.
Anyone who believes they may have a gambling addiction can receive help at 1.888.614.2251.