Tennessee sports betting is almost ready for an historic launch. The launch has been delayed due to COVID-19 several times, but the launch is now set for November 1.
The launch will make history, because out of the almost two dozen states that have legalized sports betting, Tennessee will be the first state to have sports betting entirely online. Some states have sportsbooks that operate out of physical locations, like casinos, race tracks, and Off-Track Betting (OTB) locations. Several states have sportsbooks that operate out of physical locations only, and even some have both physical locations and online sites.
Tennessee sports betting will feature state of the art elements and be extremely competitive. One of the key lawmakers who lobbied for legal sports betting in Tennessee is Democratic Representative Rick Staples, who represents District 15. Staples said, “We’re talking about Tennessee being the first state in the nation to do online and interactive mobile-only.”
Dolly Parton Rumored To Be Early Investor
Country singer Dolly Parton, a Tennessee native and lifelong resident, is rumored to be an early Tennessee sports betting investor. She lives in Brentwood, Tenn., just outside of Nashville, and has parlayed her singing career into a very successful business empire. She designed and runs the Dollywood Amusement Park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., which opened in 1986, and is located next to Parton’s other endeavor, the water park Dollywood’s Splash.
Tennessee sports betting expert, Allen Bell, says this is a massive endeavor on the part of the Tennessee Gaming Commission.
“It’s massive, we’re seeing across the country state by state that this legislation is going through because of the revenue possibilities,” Bell said. “This is a $4 billion business, and states are realizing, ‘Hey we can get in on this.'”
Representative Staples started lobbying very aggressively for the passing of Tennessee sports betting in the state in 2019. He sponsored and drafted the first official sports betting bill. Due to severe budget deficits, the bill had bipartisan support.
“Everything was set to go earlier this year, then the pandemic happened right before the launch was planned,” Bell said. “People in Tennessee have been placing illegal bets in the state for decades upon decades. As soon as we launch, the state will start making money.”
Sports Betting Proceeds Will Go To Education, Mental Health Programs, Police Training
As part of the bill, Tennessee sports betting funds had to be allocated to certain places and programs. Some of the money will be going to mental health programs throughout the state. A certain percentage will go to the city of Knoxville, which has a severe police shortage. Sources say that money will be used to train and hire new Knoxville police officers.
“As sports betting rolls out in the state, it will be a learning curve,” Bell said. “There will be some missteps by providers and betters, but in time, everything will get into a certain flow, and it will be a smoother process as time goes by.”
“There is going to be an education process for the market because there are going to be so many players that haven’t done this before, but that’s to be expected with anything new.”
Staples is getting ready to leave public office by the end of 2020. He said he is honored to be part of such an historical achievement that will shed a positive light on Tennessee.