A proposed bill would allow local governments in Tennessee to decide whether or not to permit sports betting, Local Memphis reports.
The bill will be discussed when the state legislature meets today.
Proposed by State Representative Rick Staples, the bill would impose a 10% tax on the income of licensed gambling operators. The tax would be paid monthly. According to the report, the bill is gaining support and, if approved, it would be up to “local communities to then petition their local government with at least 10% of voters calling for a vote on legalizing betting in their area.”
Staples said: “Billions of dollars leave the state of Tennessee to our neighboring states with casino and table gambling. So this is a new stream of revenue that the federal government is allowing the states to take advantage of.”
Revenue allocation explained
He went on to say that he is in the process of drafting a sports betting bill that would allocate revenue for preK-12 education. If approved, the bill would enable city councils in Memphis and three other large cities to determine sports betting locations.
Of the taxes collected, 40% would go to the state general fund, 30% to community and tech colleges, and the remaining 30% to local governments.
However, while the bill is gaining support, not everyone is keen on the idea. Dr. Ted Bender of Turning Point and Addiction Campuses wants to know if it will increase problem gambling.
“It’ll be interesting to see, if this bill passes, if that increases the gambling problem in this country or it just stays the same and the money is just rerouted to different places,” he said. “I would really hope that the lawmakers strongly consider putting money towards mental health and addiction treatment as a way to kind of help people who are struggling with this in the first place.”
Sports betting spreads in US
Tennessee is just one of several U.S. states that have passed or are considering sports betting bills.
Not all states have been successful. The New York State legislature closed for the summer with no sports betting bill having been introduced. This is despite the fact that New Jersey had successfully managed to do so. After the success of New Jersey, many thought that New York would follow suit. The next session of New York’s legislature will open later this month.
Washington, D.C., approved its sports betting bill last month on an 11-2 vote. City council members worked quickly to approve the measure. Along with New Jersey, Washington joined Delaware, Mississippi, Rhode Island, New Mexico, and West Virginia, as jurisdictions that have legalized sports betting.
South Carolina is another state where the idea faces opposition. The state has long opposed gambling. There are no casinos there, and poker and sports betting are both illegal. However, the lottery and some types of bingo are permitted.
While some states are keen to approve sports betting bills to keep gambling money inside the state, it’s easy to see why others are not are that eager. This is mainly because of the problems associated with gambling and the negative impact it can have on people’s lives.