Tennessee Sports Betting Bill Moves Forward Without Governor's SignaturePublished May 28, 2019 by Elana K
Tennessee’s sports betting bill is unique in three ways: It doesn’t bear the governor’s signature, it requires gambling operators to get commercial licenses for in-game betting, and it only allows online sports betting, not land-based.
Tennessee has now become the fourth state to legalize sports betting this year and the seventh state to legalize it since the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting in May 2018. Tennessee’s bill, however, is unique in three ways: It doesn’t bear the governor’s signature, it requires gambling operators to get commercial licenses for in-game betting, and it only allows online sports betting, not land-based.
The Governor’s Stance on Gambling and Sports Betting
Tennessee governor Bill Lee has allowed the state’s sports betting bill to go forward despite his personal stance against gambling. In a statement he posted on Twitter, he wrote,
“Compromise is a central part of governing, but I remain philosophically opposed to gambling and will not be lending my signature to support this cause. We see this issue differently but let me be clear: any future efforts to expand or introduce casinos in Tennessee will assure my veto.”
What’s in the Bill?
Tennessee sports betting operators will have their work cut out for them; since Tennessee does not have any land-based casinos, this is a rare case in which sports betting will be permitted only online.
Licensees will have to pay a steep annual fee of $750,000, plus a 20% tax on their revenue. However, despite the high taxes, it is anticipated that companies like DraftKings and FanDuel will be eager to open up their sportsbooks to a previously untapped market.
An additional requirement for operators is that they will need to get commercial licenses for in-game betting, which ultimately gives pro sports leagues more control over what can be offered.
The good news is that sports betting has the potential to generate $50 annually, according to an estimate from Tennessee’s fiscal research office.
The sports betting bill will go into effect on July 1, and only then will the Tennessee Lottery start drafting official rules. It’s not yet known when the rules will be settled and when the actual betting can begin.