Analysis

Hurdles in the way of Tennessee November launch

Officials in Tennessee are still attempting to nail down the final rules for sports-betting in the state a matter of weeks before launch.

Ahead of the launch of sports-betting in Tennessee officials from the state lottery are still hammering out the regulations before the go-live date of November 1.

Tennessee will be the latest state to launch sports-betting. Four of the top brands, including DraftKings, FanDuel and betMGM, along with local brand Tennessee Action 24/7 have all received conditional licenses.

However, according to reports in the local media, officials from the lottery – which will oversee sports-betting in the state – are still arguing over what types of bets will be allowed on college sports.

“We’re still very optimistic that we’re going to get this thing launched November 1,” Tennessee Education Lottery Board chair Susan Lanigan said at a meeting of the lottery board on Friday. 

“But there’s a significant amount of scrambling going on to get that done.” 

Index moves

As and when Tennessee opens up it will see the state move from its position of T40th on the Wedge Index with just points up to the fringes of the top 10.

The issue at the heart of the last-minute wrangling depends on the wording of the Sports Gaming Act, which passed the legislature back in April.

The Act states that betting should be prohibited on “individual actions, events, statistics, occurrences, or non-occurrences to be determined during a collegiate sporting event.”

The colleges and universities apparently believe this should forbid all betting on college sports.

But the lottery officials believe it only refers to betting on individuals, not on teams. The conversation at the meeting also turned to what constituted an in-game proposition bet.

State of confusion

One board member was certainly confused. “I’ve read it ten times and what I was afraid would happen did happen; the more you read it, the more confusing it gets,” said John Crosslin. 

The speculation is that the updated regulations will ban proposition bets placed after a college game has started, while other prop bets will need to be agreed with the regulator prior to posting.

The agreed schedule of all other bet types permissible has been agreed but are yet to be posted.

The committee better hurry up – another official said a further three license applications had been received and will be vetted soon.

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Scott Longley

Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor's Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.

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