A Vote On Tennessee Sports Betting Gets Delayed Again

A Vote On Tennessee Sports Betting Gets Delayed Again

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State House committee lawmakers debated on a sports betting bill on Tuesday, leading to no vote being held by the committee.

The sports betting bill discussion came back up in Tennessee which is why lawmakers were discussing TN HB 1 on Tuesday. Plenty of amendments were debated on during discussions and it is unclear what the path forward for sports betting is going to look like.

Changing Providers

In one of the earliest iterations of the bill, the plan was to have sportsbooks open in brick-and-motor locations and allow for mobile sports wagering. The bill was also going to create a new state gaming commission. This is because that there are no casinos in Tennessee.

But that changed last week. An amendment was voted on and now the only way to get access to a sportsbook will be through the mobile space. The amendment also did away with the new gaming commission and it will leave the regulation of sports betting to the Tennessee Lottery. They would be the ones to regulate mobile sports betting since they already have experience in the mobile space.

This was challenged yet again on Tuesday. It was reported on Tuesday that Representative Jason Powell wanted to bring back the brick-and-motor option back along with the previously proposed gaming commission. The amendments that he introduced to do so were rejected. If the bill were to pass right now, sports betting would only be available in the mobile space.

Plenty Of Rejected Amendments

There were a lot of lawmakers in the committee that are dissatisfied with how the current bill is drafted. One of the amendments that was proposed is to change the $750,000 license fee to $75,000. The amendment was supposed to help smaller businesses gain access to a sports betting license. This amendment was rejected.

Another amendment that was rejected is to eliminate the license cap. The bill only allows for 10 sports betting license holders in Tennessee. The amendment to use official league sports betting data for live betting was rejected as well.

One of the more obscure amendments that was introduced was to ban sports betting on Sundays and on holidays. This would have been a major blow for sportsbooks because big ticket NFL games happen on these days and football is the most popular sport to bet on. This amendment was ultimately shot down as well.

Too Many Disagreements Delay Bill Vote

The sheer number of disagreements and rejected amendments around TN HB 1 caused lawmakers to rethink if they should vote on the bill. Although the bill has been with the committee since February 27, there has been no vote held to move the bill forward. The committee was finally supposed to get to vote on the bill on Tuesday.

But the vote did not happen. Some lawmakers in the committee thought that they needed more time to think about it and voted to delay further discussion on TN HB 1. The committee voted 13-6 to move TN HB 1 to “heel of the calendar.” This means that the sports betting bill is now in the back of the line for the committee to vote on. The committee has 23 bills on the calendar now, with sports betting in the very back of the line.

Now it is unclear if sports betting will be legalized in 2019. The ongoing legislative session in Tennessee ends in mid-May and there is no clear date when the bill will be discussed again. Lawmakers will not reconvene until 2020. Further delays would likely mean that sports betting would not have another shot to becoming legal in Tennessee until next year.

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