2022 Rulemaking Process Continues For Tennessee Sports Betting

Posted on November 8, 2021

The Rulemaking Committee of Tennessee’s Sports Wagering Advisory Council (SWAC) held a virtual meeting on Friday, Nov. 5 to discuss issues raised during October’s public comment period. Many of the public comments centered around the controversial 10% hold requirement and the committee’s plan to keep the rule.

This time, the team had a new executive director on board to assist with operations.

Mary Beth Thomas joins as executive director

Tennessee native Mary Beth Thomas officially adopted her role as executive director on Monday, Nov. 1.

Her proposed duties include directing business affairs, managing all employment matters, supervising the expenditure of funds and recommending fines for sports gaming violations. Each of these new roles, of course, will still be subject to the council’s advisory.

During the meeting, Thomas and the three-member Rulemaking Committee explored some of the state’s most pressing regulatory issues, including the unique Tennessee hold requirement.

Tennessee 10% sports betting hold requirement discussed

Tennessee’s unique 10% hold requirement was the most-popular discussion topic during October’s public hearing, where 11 different parties provided their input on the matter.

In the SWAC’s most recent draft of the rules, the committee proposed implementing quarterly fines for not meeting the hold requirement instead of an annual fine.

The comments during the public hearing, however, centered around the rule’s existence instead of the frequency of violation assessments.

After considering the public’s suggestions, the committee discussed three potential solutions going forward:

  1. Keep the rule as it is and impose an annual penalty on any operators that don’t meet the Tennessee sports betting minimum 10% hold.
  2. Change the rule to the proposed version which fines operators on a quarterly basis.
  3. Find an alternate solution to the issue, like a biannual review.

The committee mentioned its desire to have heard more public suggestions regarding a potential new hold percentage rather than suggestions to eliminate the requirement altogether.

It looks like the hold requirement is here to stay, despite public comments for it to be removed.

Emergency regulations remain on track

Rather than voting to approve emergency regulations at next week’s council meeting, the committee will reconvene a second time to finalize the rules.

The committee will then propose the final rules to the full council and subsequently approve and instate them by Dec. 31. Emergency rules are valid for 180 days while the permanent rulemaking process is completed.

The next sports wagering meeting will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. CT with the full nine-member SWAC Council in attendance. This time, the council will convene inside the Cordell Hull State Office Building.

The date of the next Rulemaking Committee meeting has yet to be announced.

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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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