Tennessee Governor Bill Lee will allow the state to legalize sports wagering, despite his own personal objections to the expansion of gambling. Senate Bill 16 has already been approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate, but will not be signed off by Lee. The passage of the bill, which doesn’t require Lee’s signature to become law, means that Tennessee is the latest state to bring sports betting into the light.
His press secretary, quoted in the Nashville Tennessean, said: “The governor has said he does not believe that the expansion of gambling is best, but he recognizes that many in the legislature found this to be an issue they want to explore further. He plans to let this become law without his signature.”
Tennessee will also strike out with a wholly different approach to most states that have passed betting legislation. The casino-free state will restrict sports wagering to mobile and online only. And, crucially, those firms that secure a license will be forced to use only official data from the sporting leagues, albeit without any form of integrity fee attached.
The tax rate for licensees has been set at 10 per cent of gross income and policy makers anticipate raising circa $50m in taxation per year. The funds will go to local government, education and paying for the treatment of problem gamblers.