MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It looks all but certain.
Legal sports gambling is coming to parts of the Mid-South.
The Supreme Court is leaving the decision to each state after striking down a federal law barring the practice Monday.
Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey expects to see it at the casinos in Tunica and Southland Park in West Memphis.
“The fact is, Tennesseans are already participating in gambling online and illegally, so I think it’s time that we look at doing this in a legal setting,” he said. “I think it’s a big win for federalism and for the authority of states to enact our own laws.”
Mississippi actually gave the green light in 2017 after passing a bill to legalize fantasy sports, and state regulators are already drafting rules.
“I think that Tennessee should get on board,” Senator Kelsey said.
Senator Kelsey estimates millions of dollars in revenue every year and says he’d want that money to go to public education, specifically K through 12.
He intends to propose a bill next year that would allow the practice and earmark the money for that purpose.
Mike McAbee loves the idea, “as long as it goes to education that’s great. If it goes in a politician’s pocket than no.”
Still, he says gamblers should only bet, “When you can afford to bet. Don’t take the food off your table, right?”
Sports gambling in the Mid-South is now likely to go beyond that friendly wager with your buddy.
Senator Kelsey’s plan for public education is based on Tennessee’s state lottery, which funds college level education.