Brian Kelsey aims for legalized sports betting in Tennessee by 2019 football season

Brian Kelsey aims for legalized sports betting in Tennessee by 2019 football season

Football

Brian Kelsey aims for legalized sports betting in Tennessee by 2019 football season

It has been two months since the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act prohibiting states from authorizing sports gambling.

Now it is up to each individual state to decide if they would like legalized sports betting.

Brian Kelsey serves as a Tennessee state Senator for Cordova, East Memphis and his hometown of Germantown. Kelsey plans on introducing legislation to legalize sports betting in Tennessee.

“When the Supreme Court decision came out, that was a huge win for states and federalism,” Kelsey told Vols Wire.

Kelsey has received a large amount of support since his public desire to help lead the initial steps in legalizing sports betting.

“Tennessee should look into allowing sports betting and the response has been overwhelming support in favor of the idea and I have decided to introduce legislation for when the General Assembly returns in January,” he said.

The General Assembly meets in Tennessee from January through about April each year.

Kelsey said “it would take a couple of months for something to get passed in March or April 2019 and then it would take a couple of months to get everything up and running.”

If legislation is passed, something Kelsey feels confident about, sports betting should be up and running in time for the 2019 college and NFL football seasons.

“That would be very reasonable if our legislators want to actually pass this legislation,” he said of the time-frame to be ready for the 2019 football season.

“I am cautiously optimistic about it,” Kelsey said. “Since Republicans have taken over the majority in Tennessee, we have allowed for sports betting on the fantasy side with Draft Kings, so I think Tennessee is ready for sports betting. It is not like there will be pop up casinos all over the state, but this is a step I think Tennesseans are ready for.”

Open dialogue on the topic is what Kelsey is requesting, he wants to listen to all ideas that surround legalizing sports betting in Tennessee and avenues for residents in taking part.

“I am very much open in hearing from Tennesseans about it,” he said. “What I am envisioning is a place like Beale Street in Memphis or the Old City in Knoxville, having physical locations of sports bars that have screens up and then you can also buy food and drink and bet all at the same time. Also a lot of people have been asking for an online component as well with a phone app being available. Having it tied into a physical location will bring in state tax revenue off of gambling and food and drink sales tax.”

Kelsey also sees an opportunity to pass legalized sports betting into law and in return help fund Tennessee’s K-12 education with its revenue.

“I personally think that K-12 education is the No. 1 and most important priority the state of Tennessee funds,” he said. “I think we need even more funding for it and this would be a great source for millions of dollars going towards that.

“We do not know the actual amount that could end up going towards it, but I guarantee that it will be millions of dollars that we will be able to put into K-12 funding. When we instituted the Tennessee lottery, all of that money went to higher education in the form of the Hope scholarships and that sort of thing and it’s time now and refocus back on the K-12 education.”

Latest

More VolsWire
Home