Tennessee Lottery’s New Sports Gaming VP Brings Much-Needed Experience

Posted on June 30, 2020

Just days after losing one Las Vegas gambling industry veteran, the Tennessee Lottery has added another to its staff. The lottery’s new Sports Gaming VP Danielle Boyd comes to the Volunteer State with an impressive resumé.

She not only has experience regulating sports betting on a statewide level, but she also has worked for a sportsbook. That is a crucial commodity in Tennessee.

The TN lottery’s new sports gaming VP and her experience

Boyd has been working as the head of government relations for William Hill, one of the nation’s premier sportsbook brands, for the last two years. In that role, she aided the gambling company in compliance with federal, local, and state regulations.

Prior to taking that job with William Hill, Boyd worked with the West Virginia Lottery. She was the managing general counsel for the WV lottery while it built out its regulatory structure for sports wagering.

Both of those experiences make her an ideal candidate to help lead the Tennessee lottery’s rollout of legal wagering. That’s especially true because none of the Tennessee lottery board members or people who sit on the Sports Wagering Advisory Council actually have experience running a sportsbook.

Boyd has effectively sat on both sides of the table when it comes to regulating sports betting. There are some nuances to the market in Tennessee she will have to account for as she proceeds, however.

Tennessee’s market for sports wagering is unlike any other

There are several ways in which Tennessee’s regulatory structure for sportsbooks differs from other jurisdictions. Two are especially prominent, however.

The first major difference between Tennessee and other markets is the fact that there will be no retail sportsbooks. In almost every other state, online sportsbooks operate under master licenses held by casinos and racetracks.

The other major point of differentiation is that Tennessee caps sportsbooks’ annual payout at 90%. Tennessee is the first jurisdiction to institute such a mandate, which has received widespread criticism.

Boyd will take on the task of implementing a regulatory structure with these unique elements. The timing of Boyd’s hire may prove crucial for the lottery.

Why there was no time like the present

On top of the fact that the Tennessee lottery is currently accepting applications for licenses, there’s a ticking clock. The sooner online sportsbooks in the state actually go live, the better.

Although the lottery has only received three partial operator applications, the lottery’s Chair, Susan Lanigan, insisted that interested parties were just taking their time with their applications earlier this month. That may not be an option for much longer, however.

Tennessee sportsbooks and, as a result, the state treasury, would miss out on a lot of revenue if sportsbooks aren’t accepting wagers when the next college football and NFL seasons begin. Assuming these seasons begin as scheduled, the time to get the necessary work done for that to happen is running short.

The lottery still has to approve applications and do inspections before giving a final authorization to operators. Additionally, operators need time to build out their platforms for Tennessee’s market.

In Boyd’s new role, she may interact with her former employer, William Hill, someday. It would be in the best interest of everyone involved if similar interactions take place soon.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. 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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