By Sheila Burke, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s Legislature passed a bill that would make clear that fantasy sports betting is legal, but would also regulate it and put a tax on it.
The Senate passed the Fantasy Sports Tax Act on Tuesday, and the bill (HB2105) is now on its way to the governor. The legislation follows a state attorney general issued legal opinion issued earlier this month that said fantasy sports contests are illegal gambling.
The measure says online companies that offer the contests must be licensed by the state. The measure also generally limits players to betting no more than $2,500 per month, unless they can show that the limit should be increased. And it would allow the state to impose a 6 percent gambling tax on the adjusted revenue of fantasy sport operators. Continue reading →
Fantasy sports gambling companies and their estimated 1 million Tennessee customers would be on solid legal ground under a bill approved by state senators on a 29-1 vote, reports the Times-Free Press.
“There’s some question right now,” Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, said after the Senate action. “It’s been going on for several years. Estimates are a million people in Tennessee. It’s like 55 million nationwide.”
The bill (SB2109) is still moving through the House.
Johnson said he and other proponents have been working with state Attorney General Herbert Slatery, first establishing that fantasy sports gambling involves some skill and therefore isn’t a lottery, which the Tennessee Constitution bans except for the state lottery.
While Slatery did not issue a formal legal opinion on fantasy sports, Johnson said, he and his attorneys did provide “guidance that they did not see fantasy sports as a lottery. That means the constitution’s [issue] is OK.
“Then you have to deal with it in statute,” Johnson said. “Some might argue it does” violate state anti-gambling laws. “Some might argue it doesn’t.”
So the bill would ensure it is legal. It also requires the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office to set up guidelines for companies to register and charge fees to handle the process.
Johnson, who is Senate Commerce Committee chairman, also said he thinks registration would establish legal presence in Tennessee and require fantasy sports gambling companies to pay some corporate taxes to the state.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. — whose 2008 re-election campaign collected $9,900 from the NRA — partially blamed “violent video games and movies” rather than guns for Friday’s massacre of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school, according to Chris Carroll. “We should ask the leaders of the entertainment industry whether they would want their children — or those who might harm their children — to watch the increasingly violent video games and movies that they pour into our culture,” Alexander said Monday. “This is not the only cause of violence in our society, but it is one important cause.”
Some news reports have indicated the 20-year-old Connecticut gunman played violent computer games. Alexander said “we must look closely at the behavior of isolated young men who develop an obsession with violence.”
“The problem is not with the gun, but with the person pulling the trigger.” Alexander’s comments came less than 24 hours after President Barack Obama all but started a national conversation on gun control. “These tragedies must end,” Obama said at a memorial service in Connecticut. “And to end them, we must change.”
Tennessee’s other U.S. senator expressed sympathy but sidestepped specific proposals.
“Given such an unspeakable act of violence perpetrated on children, it’s appropriate to talk about what we’re doing to keep our communities safe, recognizing the issues involved are complex,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, who received $4,950 in National Rifle Association funds this year. “Undoubtedly, every contributing factor will be examined.”
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — If Democrats have their way, the Tennessee General Assembly would meet only every second year, lawmakers’ daily expenses would be capped and bill sponsors would have to divulge if their legislation originated with national groups.
Democratic leaders insist their proposals are designed to promote good government. But Republicans charge the measures are election-year games.
“I’d be glad to look at any suggestions they have, but they’re playing politics,” House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said in a recent interview. “When they had the power to do it, they didn’t do anything about that.”
But House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville argued that most of the lawmakers sponsoring the current measures didn’t hold leadership positions before Republicans won their majority in the House in 2008.
“How long do you hold a good idea down just because a party took things a particular way several years ago?” Turner said.