Lt. Gov. McNally Pushed Betting Regulators For 10% Hold Mandate

Posted on April 22, 2020 - Last Updated on May 5, 2020

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally feels the body he presides over still has work to do on sports betting regulations. The 90% fixed payout cap isn’t an area that needs much attention, in his opinion, however.

In fact, McNally says he expressed his support for the cap at that percentage to the TN Lottery Board. He is uncertain when the legislature may address what he sees as minor issues in other areas as well.

McNally fully supports 90% fixed payout cap

In response to what he liked best about the TN Lottery’s finalized regulations, McNally was clear that he approves of the controversial hold requirement:

“I believe a 90% cap is fair, equitable and in the state’s best interest. While the state could conceivably raise the cap at some point in the future, it would be difficult to lower once expectations were set. I believe it to be both prudent and equitable to begin with a 90% cap.”

McNally refers to the statement made by members of the TN Lottery before they finalized the rules that the board would review the value of the cap after a year. McNally made his support of setting the cap at 90% prior to the meeting as well.

“I simply communicated my preference for the 90% cap to lottery officials. No contingencies were discussed. I was grateful to see the 90% level eventually settled upon.”

While McNally is happy to see this part of the regulations, he doesn’t see them as perfect in their current state. He intends to address that with more legislation, but it’s unclear when that might happen.

The fate of HB 2284 depends on the calendar

A bill exists in the TN Legislature, which could alter some of the provisions of the state’s sports betting regulations. One such change was potentially putting the TN Sports Betting Advisory Council in a leadership role. As it stands, the group counsels the TN Lottery on sports betting but has no actual authority.

McNally still feels that such measures are necessary despite the Lottery’s vote to finalize the rules.

“Some of the rules arguably go further than statutory authority would seem to allow. Most are relatively minor and can be fixed with legislation.”

McNally shared that HB 2284 is “in a holding pattern” because of the Assembly’s recess through June. He doesn’t have a strong feeling about whether the body will be move on the matter this summer.

“I believe that legislation will still be necessary. The General Assembly will likely be doing limited business when we return from recess. At this point, it is impossible to know whether the legislation will be taken up in June or whether the issues will have to be revisited in January when the next legislative session begins.”

McNally says he is content with the Lottery Board’s operations to this point. He merely wants to use legislation to fine-tune some things in the regulations.

That suggests he supports keeping the board in charge of regulating sports betting in TN but with some additional guidelines for what the body can and can’t do. Whether or not that would involve limiting the board’s ability to ever alter or repeal the payout cap is unknown right now. What does seem to be the case is that the Advisory Council will remain as advisors only.

What’s also clear is that McNally fully supports the cap and communicated that with the board. How that cap will impact the Tennessee sports betting industry in the long-run remains to be seen.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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