Tennessee governor to allow sports betting to become law without signature

Despite being opposed to the legalization of gambling, Gov. Bill Lee says he will allow a Tennessee sports betting bill to become law without his signature.

After a vote of approval last week in the House of Representatives, the Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that would permit online sports gambling beginning July 1, while continuing to prohibit the practice at brick-and-mortar locations.

Senate Bill 16 narrowly passed on a vote of 19 to 12, as it did in the House 58 to 37. Afterward, the House even more narrowly adopted some minor Senate amendments with 51 votes.

"The governor has said he does not believe that the expansion of gambling is best, but he recognizes that many in the legislature found this to be an issue they want to explore further," said Laine Arnold, Lee's press secretary. "He plans to let this become law without his signature."

Tax revenue from the sports gambling industry is projected to bring in an estimated $50 million each year, which will be set aside for education, local government and gambling addiction treatment.

Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, who introduced the bill along with Rep. Rick Staples, D-Knoxville, described the bill as one that would "bring the illegal online sports gambling market into the sunshine," along with providing consumer protection for individuals casting sports bets and generating state revenue.

Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, opposed the bill and voiced skepticism about the revenue projections, based on roughly 10 other states that have passed similar sports betting legislation.

Individuals under the age of 21 would be prohibited from casting bets.

The legislation establishes a nine-member commission, housed within the state Lottery Commission, to oversee sports betting regulations.

The bill includes a list of types of people prohibited from making sports wagers — including the athletes and team owners involved, people who run sports betting operations and others with influence over a game's outcome — and makes it a misdemeanor if they do cast bets.

https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2019/04/30/tennessee-sports-betting-gambling-bill-governor/3626390002/