Last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that opens the way for more sports betting is getting some bipartisan support among Tennessee state lawmakers.
One is Nashville Democrat House member Jason Powell, while the other is Republican Senator Brian Kelsey of Memphis.
Powell thinks the state constitution should be amended to allow Tennesseans to bet on their Titans, Preds, Grizzlies or even college teams, but he’s looking at taking it further to help fund things like transit or K-12 public schools.
“I am all for sports gaming and looking at those changes, but the fact remains that is just a small percentage of the revenue we can tap into if we allow casino gaming in the State of Tennessee,” he told News 2.
Sen. Kelsey said sports betting “could mean millions of dollars toward K-12 education in Tennessee.”
While he sees sports betting revenue as a way to help schools, the lawmaker also envisions what the idea may physically look like.
“I am open to hearing from Tennesseans about what they think is best, but one thought that I had was having physical locations in downtown Memphis or Nashville, as well as having those locations having online platforms,” Kelsey told News 2.
Tennessee Lottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove said sports betting in places worldwide often comes under the control of their individual lotteries.
“Because you have all the checks in place, all of the integrity,” Hargrove said. “In fact, 50 percent of the world’s lotteries also offer sports betting.”
Two Republican candidates for governor have weighed in already on potential sports betting in Tennessee.
Randy Boyd, who owns three minor league baseball teams, said he “is opposed to sports betting.”
Diane Black’s campaign said she has “strong concerns,” but also said, “voters should be heard” on the issue.