It appears as though legalized sports betting could be legalized in Tennessee, as the first steps have been taken yesterday, on January 2, 2019. Rick Staples, a Democrat from Knoxville, Tennessee, filed the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act. The bill would not legalize betting statewide, but instead would allow cities and counties to locally decide whether they authorize sportsbetting or not.
Staples believes that the bill could revitalize the state economically. He stated:
For those that go in locally, in the first year $2.2 million, the next year it would double to five million and then it would increase several million every year afterwards.”
About The Bill
For those wondering how the state would prosper exactly, the bill would impose a 10% tax on gaming revenue. 40% would go to a general fund for “general appropriations”, 30% would go to Tennessee colleges (including community colleges), and the remaining 30% would be given to local governments for “education and infrastructure”.
The betting would allow for betting on collegiate and professional sports. For colleges who might be uncomfortable with their teams being involved in betting – they would have the option to opt out.
While the state’s economy is expected to grow this year; 2018 has not been an easy year for Tennessee. Trump’s trade wars have affected both manufacturing and agriculture, which are two of the state’s biggest industries. This summer, a Republican senator by the name of Lamar Alexander signaled out the tariffs as “devastating” to the state.
Ryan Poe of the Memphis Commercial Appeal believes that the bill could go a long way in terms of revitalizing the economy, however. He pointed out that schools currently need over $100 million to catch up on deferred maintenance, and gambling revenue could obviously help offset these costs. He finished his article by stating very simply: “sports betting could help meet one of our biggest persistent needs: money.”