lthough the Republican governor had said a few weeks ago he did not believe the expansion of gambling was best, he planned to let the sports wagering bill become law without his signature.
Online sportsbooks can begin offering their products on July 1, but actual betting is expected to begin closer to football season, the Action Network reports.
Tennessee is the first state to have mobile-only sports betting — there will be no physical sportsbooks, and there are no casinos in the state.
I am returning the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act (HB0001/SB0016) to the General Assembly today without my signature. My full statement is below: pic.twitter.com/iolgR8G6J0— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) 24 de mayo de 2019
Lee said in a statement that he opposes gambling philosophically, but that online-only betting was a compromise between himself and the General Assembly.
The main counterpoint to the bill was centered around addiction. Rep. Andy Holt argued that allowing it to pass would be “pouring fire” on the addiction issues already existing in Tennessee.
The opposition even added an amendment that would put some of the revenue generated by legalized sports betting toward gambling addiction treatment (along with education and local government issues).
Another key part of Tennessee’s sports betting bill is that it forces gambling operators to get commercial licenses for in-game betting. That gives the pro sports leagues more control over what can and cannot be offered.