Online sports betting expected to become legal in Tennessee July 1

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

The legislation, which would regulate online interactive sports gambling, takes effect July 1st.

Many are wondering how the bill will work and which online gambling sites will be legal in Tennessee.

The bill will require online sites to pay an annual $750,000 license fee with the state taking 20% of the taxes.

Some state lawmakers are projecting nearly $50 million dollars in revenue during the bill’s first year.

“I’d exercise a little caution with that,” said Legal Sports Report Analyst Eric Ramsey, “in other young, early adopter markets in the US, some of those projections, have been a little ambitious for the first year.”

Ramsey believes it will take a year or two to see that kind of revenue. 

He also said the bill would establish a new nine-member commission under the Tennessee Lottery, which would be in charge of creating rules and regulations for the operation.

Ramsey said that those rules will also likely include a deadline for operator applications. 

The bill would also require that operators use official league data sources for settling in-play bets.

“The concern with this data is that the more fees and taxes, the more restrictions you impose on operators,” said Ramsey, “the tougher it makes it for them to compete with the existing off-shore operations.”

Proponents of the bill have said this will keep money in the state.

“We already have billions of dollars that leave the state, going to other states that have casino gambling,” said Rep. Rick Staples, “so here’s a chance to do in-state sports betting that would capture dollars.”

A list of people prohibited from making sports bets include those who may influence outcomes of games and people under the age of 21.

“I believe this leads down a path toward, in essence, slavery,” said Rep. Andy Holt, “slavery to addiction.”

Tax revenue under the bill will be set aside for education, local government and gambling addiction treatment.

Meredith Ginley, an assistant professor with the ETSU Department of Psychology, conducts research on gambling addiction. 

She has treated people with gambling issues, including those who have had trouble with sports betting. 

“In general, across the literature at the national levels,” said Ginley, “the rates of problems from sports betting is not as high as we see from casino and lottery.”

Who will be among the regulated online betting sites in Tennessee?

News Channel 11 reached out to DraftKings and they told us that they absolutely intend to launch in Tennessee and their goal is to be there on day one.

Some states like Nevada require people to go to a casino to create an online sports betting account, but there is no such requirement in Tennessee.

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