Gov. Bill Lee allows sports betting without signature

State-Capitol
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FILE – This June 14, 2018 file photo shows bettors waiting to make wagers on sporting events at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City hours after it began accepting sports bets. On May 22, 2019, the Borgata announced it will spend $12 million on a new sports betting bar and lounge project. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Tennessee is about to become the first state in the nation to offer an online-only sportsbook as the governor says he has reluctantly allowed a sports betting proposal to become law without his signature.

However, Gov. Bill Lee on Friday warned that any future attempt to expand gambling throughout the state would result in a veto.

Lee announced he was allowing the bill to become enacted because it did not “pursue casinos,” which he said encourages criminal activity.

The legislation, which has a July 1 effective date, would allow regulated statewide mobile and interactive sports gambling for people 21 and older.

The proposal is projected to bring in more than $50 million annually.

States are increasingly legalizing sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way last year.

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