It seems like the rollout of Tennessee sportsbooks is still months away considering there are still no definitive rules for launch.
The public comment period for the proposed rules is officially over and it got a lot of responses. Unfortunately, the state didn’t make all of those comments available to the public like other states have.
What we do have, however, is a breakdown of just how many people mentioned certain proposed rules. One of those rules, which has a tie back to the Tennessee Lottery’s CEO, was one of the most mentioned topics.
Tennessee’s Sports Wagering Advisory Council, which is helping craft the permanent rules, will meet again Feb. 18.
Tennessee sportsbooks are required to join monitoring service
There’s no harm in requiring future sportsbook operators to be a member of some sort of monitoring service. These organizations will watch out for suspicious betting activity that could suggest multiple issues, including potential money laundering.
What is strange in Tennessee, however, is the requirement of a specific monitoring service: Global Lottery Monitoring Service (GLMS).
While GLMS is a perfectly fine monitoring service, it has very little experience in the United States. In fact, just three of its member companies have current US operations: IGT, Intralot, and Scientific Games. Each of those companies has massive lottery operations both within and outside of the US.
But as seen in the draft regulations, Tennessee requires membership to GLMS to get a sports betting license in the state.
GLMS ties to TN Lottery
There seems to be an obvious reason why joining GLMS was made a necessity.
GLMS is associated with the World Lottery Association. The current president of the WLA, Rebecca Hargrove, is also the CEO of the Tennessee Lottery.
Hargrove’s connection to GLMS doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a nefarious reason behind the requirement. It could be the draft regulation writers were most familiar or comfortable with GLMS because of her.
But there are likely better options for the US sports betting market.
Alternate monitoring services requested
Twelve of the respondents during the public comment period asked for the removal of the GLMS requirement. They don’t appear to want the requirement for a monitoring service taken out completely but just to have more options.
One of the specific options mentioned was the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Service (SWIMA). SWIMA feels like a natural choice as it already has 29 US-based members.
Many of those 29 are likely Tennessee sports betting applicants, including DraftKings, FanDuel, and The Stars Group.
SWIMA also has an impressive lineup of people behind it that are very familiar with the US market. Founding Board of Trustees Members include Jan Jones, previously of Caesars Entertainment, and Stephen Martino, MGM Resort’s chief compliance officer.
SWIMA Chief Integrity Officer George Rover is a former deputy director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement as well as a former assistant district attorney in NJ. Ronald Lemanowicz, SWIMA’s operations manager, is a former supervising investigator for New Jersey’s Attorney General Office.