The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned a federal prohibition on sports betting as unconstitutional under the 10th Amendment. New Jersey, the state originating the case, will be the first state to legalize sports gambling, Richard Wolf reports.
A bill to allow legal online sports gambling in Tennessee is advancing in the House of Representatives after briefly stalling amid bipartisan concerns.
The legislation, House Bill 1, sponsored by Rep. Rick Staples, D-Knoxville, and the Senate version by Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, advanced Tuesday in the House State committee on a 12-5 vote, with one member not voting.
While the original version of the bill allowed for gambling at both brick-and-mortar locations and online, it was previously amended to only permit online sports gambling on websites while users are located in the state of Tennessee.
Several amendments were added to the bill, including one by Rep. Rush Bricken, R-Tullahoma, that requires 5 percent of the privilege tax collected through sports betting to go to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse specifically for gambling addiction programs and treatment.
Another amendment, brought by Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville, adds a list of types of people prohibited from making sports wagers — such as the athletes and team owners involved, the people who run sports betting operations and others with influence over a game’s outcome — and makes it a misdemeanor if they do cast bets.
Opponents cite gambling addiction issues
Among the several lawmakers who spoke in opposition to the bill was Rep. Chris Todd, R-Humboldt.
“This bill will create neighbors of ours that have gambling addictions,” Todd said.
Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, pointed out that he was one of two representatives in the room present when the legislature voted on establishing an education lottery. He said he saw “night and day differences” in the sports betting bill and the lottery program.
“If we don’t do this, I don’t see this as a loss of a tremendous amount of money,” Hawk said. “I see this as a cost to society.”
The bill advances to the House Government Operations committee. The Senate version is scheduled to be heard later Tuesday in the Senate State and Local Government committee.
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