Tennessee bill to de-criminalize low-level sports entertainment pools

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For many, it’s an annual tradition to cheer on their team, while participating in a March Madness bracket pool.

“Ironically that’s illegal in Tennessee.”

Representative Bryan Terry wants to change that with the “March Madness and Fantasy Football Freedom Act.”

“When I first ran for office, I found out these were illegal, and it blew my mind we had something like that on our books.”

House Bill 1033 would allow Tennesseans to place a bet of up to $25 into a pool that is run by an individual, and not by a business. The maximum pool size is $1,000.

Rep. Terry said the bill would not allow widespread gambling, but it will allow Tennesseans to fill out brackets or participate in fantasy football leagues without the fear of being punished.

“I see it as entertainment from the stand point it’s a low-level sports entertainment pool.”

Under current Tennessee law, sports fans could be charged with March Madness misdemanors or even Fantasy Football felonies.

“It’s never been enforced, and it needs to just be repealed, and we need to have these exemptions.”

As tournament time draws near, Rep. Terry hopes lawmakers will support what he believes is a winning bill.

“I don’t think there are too many people who will be opposing it, especially if they are playing March Madness.”

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