New Tennessee Sports Betting Apps Complete Application Review Process

Posted on July 27, 2021 - Last Updated on July 28, 2021

The Sports Wagering Advisory Council met on Tuesday, July 27 to discuss the latest issues regarding Tennessee sports betting.

The Council talked about its ongoing search to fill its executive director and general council positions. The day’s agenda also included an update from the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) on Tennessee sports betting revenue for June.

The TEL also provided updates on new operators planning to join the market.

June Tennessee sports betting revenue increases

After calling the meeting to order and approving minutes from the previous meeting, chairman Billy Orgel welcomed a report from the Tennessee Education Lottery concerning the state’s latest sports betting revenue numbers.

TEL CEO Rebecca Hargrove announced that bettors had wagered $174.5 million throughout the month of June, an increase of more than 8% from May.

Bettors pocketed $156.2 million of that in earnings. After those payouts, Tennessee’s seven sportsbooks collected an adjusted gross revenue of $16.1 million.

The state, in turn, gathered a privilege tax of $3.2 million from operators.

Since betting was legalized in the state, bettors have wagered a total of $1.4 billion. The state has accumulated a privilege tax of $24 million.

Hargrove added that although the exact breakdown of wagering activity by sport is unknown, the TEL did have new data to report.

Out of the 31 sporting events approved by the TEL, football markets are responsible for 17% of all wagering activity since November.

Basketball betting, on the other hand, has made up a substantial 38% of wagering activity. Hargrove noted that these numbers are a bit skewed due to the November launch.

Tennessee sports betting began in the midst of NFL and NCAA football season. However, bettors have had full access to basketball season, resulting in the lion’s share of wagering activity.

Only 7% of betting activity has come from baseball events thus far, while 18% of wagers are attributed to all other events such as golf, tennis, NASCAR, and MMA.

Parlay wagering also garners a decent chunk of interest, making up 20% of all bets in the state.

All of this betting activity has caught the eyes of new operators, who will finally get some answers on their licensing applications.

Five Tennessee sports betting operators sit on sidelines

Hargrove reported in today’s meeting that five new betting operators submitted licensing applications.

Three out of the five applicants have officially completed the review process.

The TEL plans to send out notices to the operators this week. The Board then has 90 days either deny or approve each application.

Additionally, the TEL has approved license renewals for Tennessee’s four initial operators. Those operators include DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Action 24/7.

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While the TEL works to approve Tennessee sports betting apps, the SWAC focuses on building its team.

Executive director search continues on

During the previous meeting on June 29, the nine-member Council discussed its search for a new executive director. It also discussed a timeline for establishing the state’s new sports wagering regulations.

The Council announced that since then, it has received 19 applications for executive director.

Moreover, council member Thomas Lee proposed a timeline for the board’s new sports betting regulations. He hopes to vote on final emergency regulations as well as vote on the process for permanent regulations come November.

These emergency regulations would remain operational for six months while permanent regulations are constructed.

Investigator position opens

Now that TEL investigator Danny DiRienzo has transferred to his new role at GeoComply, the SWAC must also fill his position. Council member Brian Fazenbaker presented his findings on the subject, noting DiRienzo’s recommendation that the new regulators hire four full-time investigators and two financial analysts to carry the ever-increasing workload.

The role of investigator is to initiate the background check process for operators, suppliers, and vendors. Once completed, the investigator reviews the report and passes any findings along to the TEL. He or she also monitors the online activities at each sportsbook, addressing any compliance concerns along the way.

TEL Executive Vice President and General Council Alonda McCutcheon noted the increasing number of complaints submitted by players, along with the expanding reports of suspicious activity.

McCutcheon and Hargrove suggested the Council begin by hiring three new investigators before determining whether a fourth is necessary.

The Sports Wagering Advisory Council will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, August 24.

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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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