Tennessee’s Sports Betting Council Set For First Meeting in Nashville

Posted on November 15, 2019 - Last Updated on March 9, 2020

It’s really happening, Volunteer State residents and visitors. The first-ever Tennessee Sports Betting Council meeting has not only a place but a date and time as well.

Without much fanfare on Thursday, the Tennessee Lottery, the oversight body of Tennessee legal sports betting, set the quorum for Thursday, Nov. 21, at 10 a.m. CT in Nashville. It’s unclear what’s on the agenda at this point, but the fact that the meeting is scheduled is significant.

Sparse Details on first Tennessee Sports Betting Council meeting

The meeting will be held in the Tennessee Education Lottery Board Room. The address for that is Suite 200 at 26 Century Boulevard in Nashville. The meeting will be open to the public.

It’s safe to assume that at least five of the current eight members of the sports betting council will attend, as that’s the required number for an official meeting. Beyond that, much hasn’t been confirmed by the Tennessee Lottery. What we don’t know yet:

  • Which of the eight current members intend to be present.
  • What other industry stakeholders might be present.
  • What the council intends to accomplish at the meeting.
  • How long the meeting will last.

It’s possible that this first meeting could be largely inconsequential. It could merely provide an opportunity for council members to become acquainted with one another and form a schedule for future meetings.

It’s also possible that the council could dive right in as well. That might be the case if there are any aspirations of having the product live by Super Bowl Sunday.

Why time is of the essence for the council’s work

Based on what has happened in other states, it takes about three months for sportsbooks to actually start accepting wagers once license applications go out. Super Bowl LIV is scheduled for Feb. 2, just 72 days after next week’s meeting.

License applications haven’t even been formulated in Tennessee yet, however. That puts the council even further behind.

The Super Bowl is arguably the biggest single sporting event every year in North America. The opportunity it presents to promote new products can be unmatched.

At the same time, this is the first for legal gambling of any form other than lottery games in the Volunteer State. That means the council has to lay a lot of groundwork like protocols for those with gambling problems.

For that reason, the council could take its time even if it means missing out on Super Bowl Sunday as a launch date. Launching in time for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament may be more realistic and would provide another major sporting event to use for promotional purposes.

Regardless of the time frame going forward, there’s cause for excitement that the wheels have been put in motion. Tennessee residents can now confidently say it’s only a matter of time until they can place legal bets on sporting events in their state.

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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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