Almost Full: 8 of 9 Tennessee Sports Betting Council Positions Occupied

Posted on October 21, 2019 - Last Updated on March 9, 2020

The work before the work is nearly done. The real work should begin soon.

All but one Tennessee sports betting council position being full is a great sign for those who’ve been waiting.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, whose responsibility it was to select three of the nine members on the council, fulfilled that duty. While it’s an important step, it doesn’t mean an imminent launch date.

Carroll, Orgel, Torbett occupy Tennessee sports betting council

Lee’s selections for the three posts fell upon an individual from the eastern, middle and western parts of the state. The newest three council members differ from each other in more ways than just geography, however.

The three individuals are Kevin Carroll (middle), Billy Orgel (western) and Hanes Torbett (eastern). Although their task is similar with the council, the three come in from diverse careers.

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office employs Carroll as its Security Services Division director. Orgel owns a national wireless communications structure company and also sits on the Shelby County School Board.

Like Orgel, Torbett owns a business. Torbett’s business is in the commercial insurance industry, however.

The council is now short just one member. Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton is responsible for selecting that person.

While it’s uncertain when Sexton will make that selection, it shouldn’t be long. As a matter of fact, the council has had enough members to meet for weeks already.

Why Lee’s appointments are a good sign for Tennesseans

The law only requires five members of the council to be present for meetings to be official. The council surpassed that number last month when Senate Speaker Randy McNally made his three selections.

With eight members of the council now known, the likelihood that the first official meeting might happen soon increases. The current council members could opt to wait until the final member has been announced, however.

That’s actually the most likely scenario, as the best time to launch legal sports betting this year has already passed. Several other states like Indiana and Iowa rushed to launch before the start of the current college football/NFL seasons.

Without that pressure, the urgency on the council to get rolling is probably low. Even when Sexton announces his pick, the council will still have to work around nine different schedules to coordinate meetings.

Nothing will happen on the legal Tennessee sports betting front until then. When the meetings begin, however, decisions on pertinent matters could come quickly.

What the council is charged with doing when it meets

Although Tennessee legalized sports betting on July 1, it could still be months before legal sportsbooks actually begin accepting wagers in the state. Most of that wait is dependent on how quickly the council acts.

The council needs to decide on procedures like how the state will collect taxes, what the license application process will entail, etc. It also has the duty of forming some kind of self-exclusion program or other safeguards for people with gambling problems from scratch because there are no casinos in the state.

The process of implementing all those regulations is now more imminent. That, in turn, means the day when Tennesseans can legally bet on sports is closer as well.

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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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