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U.S. Senators introduce betting oversight bill; Tennessee AG argues betting is game of skill

A bill that would bring federal oversight to sports betting has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and Democratic Senator Charles Schumer introduced the bill, which aims to protect consumers and sports integrity and would require states to seek federal approval to run a sports betting program.

The legislation would create a national clearinghouse for wagering data and require that sportsbooks use only official game data from professional leagues — something that has already begun happening through a series of private deals.


 Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slattery III released an opinion arguing that sports betting could be considered a game of skill.

Simply put, this opens the door for HB0001, potentially sparking fireworks on the capital floor.

Governor-elect Bill Lee shared his concerns during the final Gubernatorial debate this year

“I think that organized betting frequently develops into organized crime that we don’t need in our state,” Lee explained. “It also generally has the most negative impact on the folks in our community that have the least income. People that live in poverty are the most negatively affected by legalized gambling in this state, and I think that would be the case with sports betting.”

The bill would not be a state-wide mandate but puts the decision into the hands of local governments.

“I just don’t believe the states should mandate to local governments,” said Rep. blank. “Let’s pass legislation that lets the locals decide what they want for them in order to take advantage of this money.”

The bill would place a 10% tax on sports gambling, used to buoy a number of local programs, including education and infrastructure.

 

Sports betting in Tennessee could look different than in other states.

“This is definitely far different than anything we’ve seen in the U.S. in the past six months, but every state and every jurisdiction is going to look at it differently,” Gouker said.

On Monday, the Shelby County Commission voted to ask the Tennessee General Assembly to allow sports betting on Beale Street. That resolution came just days after Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery issued an opinion saying the General Assembly may legalize sports betting through legislative action rather than a constitutional amendment.

Sports betting in the United States has largely been confined to racetracks, casinos and lottery retailers, Gouker said.

“We don’t really have a model where we have it at bars on streets,” Gouker said. “It is fairly common in the U.K. to have betting shops all over the place.”

If restaurants or bars on Beale Street were interested in offering sports betting, they’d likely work with an outside party that would book the bets, he said.


Some Washington, D.C. bar owners are exploring their options to bring sports betting to their establishments.

Geoff Dawson, owner of Penn Social, Rocket Bar, Buffalo Billiards, Iron Horse Tap Room and Jackpot, said he will enthusiastically pursue licenses once it’s clear how the betting model will be integrated into brick-and-mortar facilities.

Fritz Brogan, owner of Mission Navy Yard, said he is also looking into the licensing process but is anticipating input from local neighborhood groups and the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, which issues liquor licenses.

“It would stupid for us for not to look into this,” Brogan said. “But I hope the D.C. Lottery asks for feedback from local business.”


The NBA and FanDuel announced a sports betting partnership to go along with their existing daily fantasy sports deal.

FanDuel, a daily fantasy provider that began offering traditional sports betting in 2018, will become an authorized gaming operator of the NBA, gain access to official league data and be allowed to use league marks and logos across its platforms. FanDuel operates sportsbooks in New Jersey and West Virginia.

 

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