Tennessee Looking to Re-Direct Sports Betting Revenue
Tennessee sports betting officially launched on Nov. 1, 2020, but there could already be a major change coming to the industry.
A new bill was recently introduced that would change where a majority of the sports betting revenue is sent.
TN House Bill 48 was recently introduced by Representative David Hawk, and it calls for sending 80 percent of all Tennessee sports betting revenue directly to funding public schools in the state. The Hawkins County Board of Education supported the measure, and it is expected to gain even more support in the coming weeks.
Most of the states with legalized sports betting send the revenue to the state’s general fund, but this could be a move that shifts the US sports betting industry. If Tennessee lawmakers were able to pass this measure, other states would likely use the same model as a way to get sports betting legalized and launched.
Louisiana was able to sway voters in November to pass sports betting legislation by declaring that funds would help provide programs to K-12 public schools. That measure was passed in all but nine parishes in the state, but lawmakers have yet to pass specific sports betting rules and regulations.
The Tennessee Education Lottery regulates sports betting in the state, but those funds are diverted to a number of different ways. Hawkins County estimated that each student in the country could receive close to $25 per year if this bill passed.
Tennessee set a new industry record in November when it posted over $130 million in sports betting handle during the first full month. There were just four operators online at that time, but that number will continue to grow in 2021.
Texas Hoping to Use Tennessee Model
Lawmakers in Texas are once again trying to legalize sports betting, and they are hoping to use the Tennessee model to get a bill passed. House Bill 1121 was recently introduced, and it would allow online and mobile betting throughout the state.
Representative Harold Dutton is the sponsor behind House Bill 1121, and he acknowledged using the current Tennessee online-only sports betting market when drafting the bill. Texas has attempted to legalize sports betting in the past, but there aren’t any casinos located in the state.
State legislators have also introduced legislation to legalize casino gambling, but one of the biggest supporters of that movement passed away earlier this month. Texas could become a huge gambling market if one or both of these laws were eventually passed.
The Texas legislative session is set to end on May 31, and lawmakers will have to make a decision on HB 1121 before that time. Leaders of tribal casinos in the state are expected to argue against legalizing mobile sports betting as it will take away potential revenue.
Texas is staring at a massive budget deficit, and this could allow Dutton to get more support for his measure this time around. Professional teams in the state, such as the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, are expected to lobby in support of legalizing sports betting.
Check back for more TN sports betting news and the latest sports news in The Volunteer State.
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