The sports betting market in the United States is poised to experience massive growth as more states legalize sports betting.
Despite a spirited debate and a lot of controversy, the Tennessee House of Representatives has formally passed a law to legalize online sports betting.
House Bill 1 will allow for legal online sports betting in Tennessee if the governor signs it into law. There were 58 votes in favour for sports betting legalization and a total of 37 votes in opposition.
The main reason for the opposition to legalized sports betting has turned out to be concerns over problem gambling addiction in the state. Governor Bill Lee is also not in favour of this bill.
In a statement, Andy Holt, a Republican representative, said
I think the legislature is pouring fuel on the addiction issues in our state. I’ve seen family members who don’t have money to feed their kids because they blew it on stuff like this. If we really want to talk about helping kids, this bill won’t do it.
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The bill still needs to pass through the State Senate. If it does pass the senate, then Governor Lee will have to decide on whether to veto it or let it pass. Lawmakers are split on the veto issue. House Speaker Glen Casada, who supports the bill, thinks that Governor Lee won’t torpedo the bill. However, other lawmakers are encouraging the governor to take the veto measure.
Higher Tax Revenue
The main pressure for approving the bill is that tax revenues will turn out to be higher than ever. Gambling analysts estimate that close to $50 million per year can be generated and this amount can be used by the state to fund its infrastructure and to pay for gambling addiction treatment.
The supporters of the bill point out that a legalized sports betting market makes things safe for the locals as they wouldn’t have to worry about being cheated by unscrupulous and unlicensed operators in the state. The bill puts in several restrictions on who can bet.
This includes individuals under the age of 21, athletes and owners of the teams being wagered on, the gambling operators that run the sportsbooks, and anyone who can potentially influence the game’s results. Tennessee will only allow sports bets to be placed by bettors who are physically present within the boundaries of the state.