KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In less than 48 hours, sports betting will become legal in the state of Tennessee.
At 1:01 a.m. EST (12:01 a.m. CST) Sunday, Nov. 1, authorized companies can begin taking wagers from customers at least 21-years-old and physically located in the state at the time the wager is placed.
Right now there are four operators close to being ready to launch, three of those have already completed all requirements.
WATE 6 On Your Side digital reporter Austin Martin caught up with one local lawmaker who helped get online gambling legalized.
State Rep. Rick Staples says he worked to get sports betting passed in the Volunteer State for years to make up lost tax dollars.
“It all started about two years ago, I was working out in Knoxville at National Fitness, and saw the president say he would allow states to decide for themselves if they want to have sports betting and just got to work on the online and app only.
It was an uphill battle but the Tennessee minority worked on a bipartisan project to what could make us billions of dollars.”
Rep. Rick Staples
That tax money will be going to schools, roads and infrastructure; just like the Tennessee Lottery, which, to date has provided more than $5 billion to programs across the state.
The state’s share of the betting dollars is even more appealing now with COVID-19 restrictions cutting into taxes on the entertainment industry. While theaters are closed and hotels are having to adapt, modern betting happens online.
“It’s ahead of its time, we made it so you can interact online and mobile. It allows for local businesses to create their own apps and be able to bet as well.”