Don’t expect to go to a casino in the state of Tennessee anytime soon, but if you’d like to place a bet on a sporting event, you’ll soon be in luck. Tennessee is apparently embracing sports betting on its own terms, with Gov. Bill Lee introducing legislation that will make Tennessee a legal sports betting state.
States legalizing gambling isn’t groundbreaking in light of the Supreme Court decision in 2018 that paved the way for states to set up their own individual gambling rules and regulations. But according to a recent report, the Volunteer State is unique in that will have the first online-only sports book.
According to the Associated Press, the proposed deal is expected to bring more than $50 million annually to the state. But the rules are more of a stopgap to larger gambling initiatives rather than a slippery slope to more legalized betting in the state.
However, Gov. Bill Lee on Friday warned that any future attempt to expand gambling throughout the state would result in a veto.
Lee announced he was allowing the bill to become enacted because it did not “pursue casinos,” which he said encourages criminal activity.
The legislation, which has a July 1 effective date, would allow regulated statewide mobile and interactive sports gambling for people 21 and older.
Lee apparently let the agreement become law without his signature, so it’s clear he’s far from a fan of gambling. But extra revenue is hard to ignore, and going online-only is a unique twist as all 50 states grapple with various degrees to which they will allow gambling on sports.