With Tennessee Sports Betting Thriving, Could Casinos Be Next?
With Tennessee’s all-mobile sports betting market now in its fourth month of operation, the state could be setting its sights on the possibility of casino gaming.
State Rep. David Powell (D-District 53), Introduced House Joint Resolution 93 to the state General Assembly on Wednesday. The summary of the resolution reads:
”Proposes amendment to authorize casino gaming and require that state revenues derived from casino gaming be allocated for K-12 education projects and programs as determined by the general assembly.”
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It is unclear what will be the next move for HJR 93. It would be a big increase in gaming options for the state, something Gov. Bill Lee opposes.
Sports betting passed into law in May 2019 without Lee’s signature and it took effect in July 2019. It took Tennessee more than a year to launch its all-mobile market. Lee let it be known in a statement why he wasn’t signing the bill, making it clear he’s not a fan of casinos.
“I am letting HB 0001 become law without my signature,” Lee said in a statement at the time. “I do not believe the expansion of gambling through online sports betting is in the best interest of our state, but I appreciate the General Assembly’s efforts to remove brick-and-mortar establishments. The bill ultimately did not pursue casinos, the most harmful form of gambling, which I believe prey on poverty and encourage criminal activity.”
In neighboring North Carolina, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians owns two casinos in the western part of the state not far from the Tennessee border. The tribe recently announced it has agreed to an amended compact with the state to allow sports betting at its Harrah’s Cherokee casinos.
Another tribal casino is proposed in North Carolina about 35 miles from Charlotte.
Tennessee Sports Betting Takes Off
Since launching on Nov. 1 with four operators, Tennessee has seen about $312 million wagered in the first two months, one of the best starts for any state with legal sports betting. It has not released January sports betting figures, but the lottery said this week that $15.4 million was wagered on the Super Bowl with payouts of $12.6 million.
In addition the House resolution on casinos, Sen. Sara Kyle on Thursday introduced a bill in the Senate (SB0944) that would require a study be done of each state that has or is proposing legal sports betting. The summary reads:
”As introduced, requires secretary of state to conduct a study of each state that has authorized or proposed legislation to authorize sports gaming; requires the secretary to assess the economic impact and regulatory oversight of gaming in each state and report the findings to the governor and each member of the general assembly no later than January 10, 2022.”
Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.