Tennessee AG’s opinion could make legalizing sports betting easier

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A new legislative session fast approaches in Tennessee. Top of mind on Capitol Hill, sports gambling, thanks in part to an opinion by the State Attorney General that could simplify the process. 

A bill has already been proposed in both the house and senate, but would Governor-Elect Bill Lee support the bi-partisan legislation?

There’s money to be made at Nissan Stadium, Bridgestone and more. A new bill, the first filed for this upcoming session in the House, hopes to cash in. 

“We already have billions of dollars that leave the state, going to other states to have casino gambling,” said Rick Staples (D), State Rep for District 15. “So here’s a chance to do in state sports betting, that would capture dollars.”

Some argue spots gambling constitutes as a lottery, which would require a constitutional amendment. 

But an opinion by State Attorney General, Herbert Slatery III, recently found that sports gambling could be considered a game of skill.  

Simply put, this opens the door for HB0001, potentially sparking fireworks on the capital floor. 

Governor-elect Bill Lee shared his concerns during the final Gubernatorial debate this year

“I think that organized betting frequently develops into organized crime that we don’t need in our state,” Lee explained. “It also generally has the most negative impact on the folks in our community that have the least income. People that live in poverty are the most negatively affected by legalized gambling in this state, and I think that would be the case with sports betting.”

The bill would not be a state-wide mandate but puts the decision into the hands of local governments.

“I just don’t believe the states should mandate to local governments,” said Rep. blank. “Let’s pass legislation that lets the locals decide what they want for them in order to take advantage of this money.”

The bill would place a 10% tax on sports gambling, used to buoy a number of local programs, including education and infrastructure. 

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