Sports betting bill gains traction in Tennessee

In this Oct. 25, 2018, file photo, employees prepare to take bets moments before the new sports book at the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City, N.J., opened. Most of the states that moved quickly to legalize sports betting after a Supreme Court decision last year are still waiting for the expected payoff. Only New Jersey and Delaware saw the tax revenue to their state budgets meet projections. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee bill to legalize sports betting is gaining traction.

A House committee advanced Democratic Rep. Rick Staples’ legislation Tuesday to allow statewide mobile and interactive sports gambling, without brick-and-mortar betting locations.

The panel accepted several amendments.

Republican Rep. Bob Ramsey said the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University requested changes to bar various people from betting: college athletes, certain school officials and board members, college students and employees with access to certain confidential information, and others. It would outlaw bets on individual college athlete performance.

Asked about the bill, Republican Gov. Bill Lee has said he opposes expanded gambling, but his administration sometimes works to align legislation more with his views.

A Senate panel has cast a nonbinding vote against the bill. It’s still slated for another committee’s consideration.

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