Tennessee’s growing list of events approved for wagering has taken a hit this week.
As of Monday, April 11, the Volunteer State suspended wagering on all Russian and Belarusian sports leagues and teams.
Tennessee bans betting on Russia and Belarus leagues
Tennessee’s regulatory body, the Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC), released a memorandum last week announcing the decision. The ban begins Monday at 5 p.m. CT and will continue for the foreseeable future.
SWAC Executive Director Mary Beth Thomas wrote:
“Until further notice, Russian and Belarusian governing bodies, leagues, teams, players and events are hereby suspended from approval under the Sports Gaming Approved Events for Sports Wagering.”
Banned leagues and events
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February has resulted in a number of imposed sanctions on Russia and its ally Belarus. Illinois, for instance, announced a similar ban on associated sporting events in early March.
According to Tennessee’s official memo, two leagues in particular head to the penalty box after this announcement:
“The Council has identified the Belarus Extraleague and the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) as league entries on our Sports Gaming Approved Events for Sports Wagering that should be suspended.”
The SWAC uses these leagues as two examples that meet suspension criteria, though the ban affects every instance of Russian or Belarussian affiliation. Therefore, the council highly encourages Volunteer State sportsbooks to “review their offerings to identify additional governing bodies, leagues, teams, players, and events representing Russia and Belarus, and suspend them from their wager offerings.”
Multiple Tennessee sportsbooks have already taken action to ban such markets. DraftKings TN prohibits all KHL wagering, and FanDuel Tennessee has suspended betting on all leagues and events connected with the two countries. Similarly, Caesars Sportsbook TN has halted wagering on all Russian soccer, hockey, volleyball and table tennis.
Additionally, sports leagues have also taken it upon themselves to create distance with Russia. Formula 1 concluded its contract with the Russian Grand Prix, and FIFA has suspended Russia’s national soccer team from future competition.
Leagues and teams with Russian players
Leagues and teams that feature players from either jurisdiction, yet have no affiliation with the countries, remain approved markets. The memo states:
“Conversely, Russian and/or Belarussian players who participate in sports, governing bodies, leagues, teams (professional or amateur) or in events in other countries outside of Russia or Belarus are not considered to be participating in prohibited wager market.”
For instance, 41 Russian-born players currently compete in North America’s National Hockey League.
The Nashville Predators — Tennessee’s only NHL team — features one Russian-born player on this year’s roster. Center Yakov Trenin joined the team in 2015 and is currently in the midst of his best season to date. His 70 games this season have resulted in 24 points for the team — two of which were game-winning scores.
Since no affiliations exist between Russia, Belarus and the NHL, however, betting on the NHL is still entirely permitted.
The Nashville Predators currently carry odds of making the playoffs and odds of winning the Stanley Cup.
Tennessee sports bettors can currently wager on 34 approved sporting event categories, ranging from baseball to table tennis. A complete list of approved sporting events can be found on the council’s website.