William Hill Allegedly Books Banned March Madness Prop Bet In Tennessee

Posted on March 31, 2021

Infractions abound in the world of Tennessee sports betting.

The state’s local sportsbook, Action 24/7, just recently had its license suspended over issues of money laundering, credit card fraud and proxy betting.

The state’s newest sportsbook, William Hill, has already allegedly violated Tennessee sports betting regulations by offering player prop betting during March Madness.

This begs the question – what exactly do penalties look like for violators?

William Hill arrives late to the Tennessee regulations party

William Hill, one of the world’s oldest, most renowned sportsbooks, made its way to the states in 2012.

Most recently, the operator was granted a license in the Volunteer State – its 16th US jurisdiction. Less than three weeks after launch, though, trouble is already brewing.

According to the Tennessee Journal, the sportsbook was allegedly found taking prop bets on individual players this Monday during the NCAA Tournament.

This is a major regulatory violation per the state’s statute, which bans prop bets on college players.

The Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL), sports betting’s governing body, requires sportsbooks to pay an annual $750,000 licensing fee to keep their digital doors open. Fines for violations, however, are not as clearly defined.

TEL Communications Director Dave Smith said in a comment to the Tennessee Journal:

“There’s a process in place for violations, and we will follow that process. This matter is under review, however, prop bets on college players are not permitted. The operator has taken those down, and any wagers placed have been voided by the operator.”

What specific fines and penalties William Hill is subject to remains to be seen.

This isn’t the first of the Tennessee Lottery’s struggles

This is far from the first issue Tennessee sports betting has seen in its short history. Recently, the TEL’s regulatory decisions have been under fire as it negotiates the learning curve of regulated sports betting.

Earlier this month, the TEL suspended local sportsbook Action 24/7’s operating license due to a number of illicit activities taking place on its platform. The sportsbook self-reported the suspicious findings to the TEL in mid-March.

However, the problem was that the issues were not divulged immediately.

Action 24/7 then took the TEL to court, where a Nashville judge decided to reinstate the sportsbook’s license on account of the TEL failing to follow the appropriate course of action during the suspension process.

Additionally, the TEL has seen a revolving door in its sports betting operations.

Vice president Danielle Boyd served her last day on the job Wednesday, March 31 after nine months in the position. Boyd proceeded the TEL’s first sports gaming director, Jennifer Roberts, who spent only seven months on the job.

The revolving door of executives and the lack of clearly-defined penalties for violations has made for a tough few months for regulators in the state.

With any luck, the TEL will get a little relief and have an easy go of it next month. But, who are we kidding? April Fools’ Day is right around the corner.

Photo by Associated Press
Alec Cunningham Avatar
Written by
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.

View all posts by Alec Cunningham