On Nov 7, Tennessee State Rep. Rick Staples, a Knoxville Democrat, introduced a bill to authorize sports betting in the Volunteer State.
Dubbed the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act, the bill would allow adults 21 years or older who are physically located within a jurisdiction that has approved sports wagering by referendum to place sports bets in Tennessee.
The Act would tax sports betting at a 10 percent rate. It would create a Tennessee gaming commission consisting of nine members to “supervise compliance with laws and rules relating to the regulation and control of wagering on sporting events in this state” and applicants would be required to pay a nonrefundable licensing fee of $7,500.
The bill, however, may be in for a tough battle. Newly elected Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has previously stated that he would try to stop the Legislature from passing such a bill because it could lead to organized crime and negatively affect low-income residents the most.
There are no commercial casinos, racetracks, or tribal casinos in Tennessee but neighboring states are moving to expand gambling.
Arkansas passed Issue 4, a constitutional amendment that grants casino licenses to four operators, last week. The measure passed with 54 percent of the vote and one of the four casinos will be 10 minutes from downtown Memphis, TN.
According to the American Gaming Association, sports betting is exploding in the U.S. The group states that Americans bet more than $15 billion on the Super Bowl and March Madness and that, of that amount, 97% was bet on offshore betting sites such as such as https://www.bettingsites.ltd.