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Tennessee Legislature Votes Yes On Sports Betting; Bill Heads To Governor
Lawmakers in Tennessee have sent a bill to legalize online sports betting to the governor.
The Senate heard S 16 on Tuesday morning, adopting and amending the House substitute (H 1) and voting 20-12 in favor of passage. The House passed the previous language by a 58-37 vote last week and promptly concurred with the Senate changes.
Just like that, the Tennessee Legislature becomes the fourth in the US to authorize single-game wagering this year. The fate of each proposal now rests in the hands of its respective governor.
Of the four, though, the TN sports betting bill creates the least attractive framework for regulation.
Betting on Sports Tennessee
This effort had a difficult path in the House, and the amended version is a distant relative of the original.
The lower chamber removed provisions for retail betting in committee, passing it as an online-only measure. Additional House amendments increased the license fee hundredfold (to $750,000annually) and doubled the tax rate (to 20%). One notable Senate change empowers sports leagues to request certain restrictions.
The bill also retains language restricting operators to official data sources for settling in-play bets. Such provisions allow statistics to be weaponized and monetized, representing an unwelcome influence from professional sports leagues.
The NBA, MLB, and NFL are listed among the registered lobbying organizations in Tennessee.
For all the legwork they’ve done over the last year, this type of mandate has no statutory precedent in the US. Eight states currently regulate sports betting, and licensees are not subject to data restrictions in any of them.
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