Tennessee Sports Betting Bill Moves to Governor’s Desk

The sports betting industry in the United States continues to grow at a rapid rate as more individual states are moving legislation through Legislature. Tennessee is one of the latest states to see a bill move forward, just one step away from making the option a reality. A mobile only sports betting bill was able to pass in the House last week with a vote of 58-37. This week, the Senate cleared the bill with a vote of 19-12. Now, the measure moves on to the governor for approval.


If Tennessee sees the legislation passed into law, they will become the first state in the US to offer mobile only sports betting options. Other states either started with land-based only and that is what they offer or they have added mobile gaming later on. In Tennessee, the state does not offer any casino gaming. So technically, there is no physical spot for gaming to take place. The games could be tied to the lottery, but it seems that lawmakers just want to focus on online gaming instead.

Changes have taken place with the legislation over the last few weeks including the removal of as many as 50 retail sports wagering locations to be added in the state. The Senate made a few small changes and the House will have to agree before the bill will be sent to Governor Bill Lee. It is expected that the measure will hit the governor’s desk and he will have to decide to sign or veto.

As much as $150 million a year in taxable revenues have been estimated for the state by way of sports betting. This is based on a $3 billion handle. Sports betting in the state would be taxed at around 20%.

Governor On Board?

If the measure is able to move to the Governor’s desk, will he be on board to pass the measure? in the past, he has stated that he is concerned about gambling of any kind as he feels it will lead to organized crime. So, if that is his only concern, then if lawmakers can show the industry would be regulated effectively, then hopefully he will be on board. The plan will use the state lottery for regulation, an organization with 15 years of experience in the gaming industry, which should be a reassurance to the governor.

It will be interesting to see if the measure is able to become law and how well the state will fare with only mobile sports betting on offer. The mobile option is more appealing and convenient to players as it does not require players to be located onsite to wager. Players can easily log online from home or on the go to place a sports wager.

New Jersey is clear proof that mobile gaming works. Out of all the wagers placed in the state, around 80% are completed via mobile. The success in New Jersey should give Tennessee a good idea as to how well the new betting option would be received. But only time will tell as to if the mobile way is the best option for the state once implemented and a few months of revenues are reported.


Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.