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Tennessee Mobile-Only Sports Betting Bill Clears House, Heads To Governor's Desk

Reports Say That Gov. Bill Lee Will Pass The Bill Through Inaction, Would Become First Online-Only Sports Betting Law In The Country

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Despite not having a single brick-and-mortar casino in its state, Tennessee will have legal sports betting later this year.

Yesterday, the Tennessee Senate voted to pass SB 16, a bill that would allow online sports betting in the state by a 20-12 margin. It was originally a house bill that was amended by the Senate.

The House quickly approved the amendments and voted in favor of the bill by a 58-37 vote on the final day of the legislature. This sends the bill to Republican Gov. Bill Lee.

This is the first bill that would allow sports betting only on mobile apps and online. Most other states have left that out of their legal framework, opting to push for brick-and-mortar sports betting.

ESPN is reporting that Lee will allow the sports betting bill to become law by neither signing or vetoing it. According to ESPN, a spokeswoman for Lee says that Lee isn’t in favor of bringing legalized gambling to the state, but realizes that most lawmakers are in favor of it.

Assuming the reports from Lee’s office are correct, the bill will become laws 10 days after the bill hits his desk.

The bill will charge operators an annual $750,000 license fee and the government will tax the revenue at 20 percent. It will also create the Tennessee Gaming Commission to oversee the industry.

An integrity fee to the leagues is not included in the bill.

Tennessee becomes the fourth state to pass sports betting bills through its legislature and await action from its governor. Montana, Iowa and Indiana all passed sports betting bills this month and are likely to become law in the coming weeks.