Tennessee Lottery Aims To Launch Four Sports Betting Apps By Nov. 1

Posted on August 19, 2020 - Last Updated on October 23, 2020

The Tennessee Lottery has finally set a launch date for online sportsbooks in the state. If there is a college football and/or NFL season, bettors in the V0lunteer State should be able to wager on a good chunk of it.

The lottery has set its sights on Sunday, Nov. 1 as the definitive date to launch as many as four sports betting apps in Tennessee. The lottery board also attempted to clarify its unique payout cap for operators in its latest meeting as well.

Tennessee sportsbook launch set for Nov. 1 at the latest

During its meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 19, the lottery board issued an update on its process of approving license holders. The big news was the lottery had received four complete operator applications and is in the process of vetting them.

The board was mum on exactly who those applicants were, however. So far, BetMGM and DraftKings have expressed interest in the Tennessee market, but neither has stated whether they have submitted license applications.

The board was clear that in a perfect world, it would launch all four operators on the same day. That day would be Nov. 1 at the latest.

Lottery Board Chair Susan Lanigan stated the sports betting committee plans to meet in a month or two to approve operator licenses. At that time, it would update the rest of the board on those approvals.

The committee met earlier on Wednesday and approved 19 more vendor licenses. Prior to that, the lottery had approved four vendors, which consisted of affiliate media companies and a marketing firm.

While this is the big news for bettors in Tennessee, another item discussed during the board meeting was surely of interest to potential operators. There was further discussion and a vote pertaining to the state’s unique 90% payout cap.

The cap will likely have some limiting effects on the market when sportsbooks do ultimately launch.

Guidance issued for regulators in regard to hold requirement

On Tuesday, April 18, the Tennessee Sports Betting Advisory Council met and held a detailed discussion on the state’s 10% hold requirement. Council members focused on enforcement.

The general concerns were the limitations placed on the lottery by state law and operators potentially skirting the payout cap. Tennessee law puts a cap of $25,000 on fines that the lottery can issue to license holders for non-compliance with regulations.

The concern was that sportsbooks would not worry about being in compliance with the regulation and just pay the fine. To deter operators from doing so, the council suggested the lottery board could use its power to suspend operators’ licenses for egregious violations.

The board approved an addendum to the rules along those lines by a unanimous vote on Wednesday. The new regulation reads as follows:

The board will measure compliance on an annual aggregate basis from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. For operators who launch after January in a particular year, the board will measure compliance from the start of that month through the rest of the year.

In a final bit of news, the board also unanimously approved the appointment of Danielle Boyd as the sports gaming VP. That was merely a formality for the William Hill legal counsel veteran, however.

Boyd and the rest of the board should be busy over the coming weeks if they are to launch sportsbooks by Nov. 1. Bettors across the state are undoubtedly rooting for their success.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. 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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