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Tennessee Lawmakers Considering Ways To Allow For Sports Betting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - The U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows sports betting could have an impact in Tennessee. Some lawmakers are betting it could work here.

One Democrat and one Republican have been out front on the idea of sports betting.

“Money can be dedicated to fund mass transit, fund our schools,” said Rep. Jason Powell.

Powell, a Nashville Democrat, thinks a constitutional amendment change that could take several years is the way to go to allow Tennesseans to bet on their Titans, Preds, Grizzlies, or even college teams. But he's looking at taking it further to help things like transit or schools.

“I am all for sports gaming and looking at those changes, but the fact remains that is just a small percentage of the revenue we can tap into if we allow casino gaming in the state of Tennessee,” said Rep. Powell.

“I think this could mean millions of dollars toward K-12 education in Tennessee,” said Sen. Brian Kelsey.

Memphis Republican Kelsey sees sports betting revenue as a way to help schools, while envisioning what the idea may physically look like.

“I am open to hearing from Tennesseans about what they think is best, but one thought that I had was having physical locations in downtown Memphis or Nashville, as well as having those locations having online platforms,” said Sen. Kelsey,

Tennessee Lottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove says sports betting in places worldwide often comes under the control their individual lotteries.

“Because you have all the checks in place, all of the integrity. In fact, 50% of the world's lotteries also offer sports betting,” said Hargrove.

Expect this also to be an issue for those wanting to be Governor. Two Republican candidates for Governor have weighed in already.

Randy Boyd who owns three minor league baseball teams says he is opposed to sports betting. Diane Black's campaign says she has "strong concerns," but says "voters should be heard" on the issue.

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