Tennessee’s progress toward enabling sports betting apps on the smartphones of its residents and visitors could take its next step forward Nov. 21.
That’s the date now scheduled for the first meeting of the Sports Wagering Advisory Council of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corp.
The lottery board will be creating the regulations guiding how mobile sports wagering operates in the state. The gaming act that took effect July 1 created the nine-member advisory council appointed by the governor and legislative leaders to assist lottery officials.
Council to advise on best practices and more
The legislation calls for the advisory council to “advise the board of best practices with respect to sports wagering,” in addition to providing administrative and technical assistance and carrying out any other duties requested by the board.
Just what all that entails and how soon is wide open at this point, considering Tennessee’s unique entry into the world of legalized sports betting. It became the first state to authorize mobile sports wagering without any bricks-and-mortar locations to take bets. Unlike most states newly involved in sports betting, it also has no prior experience with regulating commercial casino gambling of any kind.
Considering the details involved in developing regulations and approving online sportsbook operators, it could be well into 2020 before the first wagers are possible. The lottery board is in the process of selecting a company that will help it evaluate applications from potential operators.
Earlier this year, the lawmaker who spearheaded the sports betting legislation told TN Bets that the first app will launch ahead of the Super Bowl.
“The director of the Tennessee Lottery is an international star in what she does,” state Rep. Rick Staples said in praise of the state agency. “They have a tremendous staff and legal team. They’ll get it done. As soon as they line up the advisory council [for sports betting] they’ll be in great shape.”
Once underway, the betting in Tennessee will cover the range of professional and college sports, with a mandate that some official league data be utilized by the operators. The revenue they collect from wagers will be taxed at a 20% rate, with most of that being used to bolster the state lottery’s support of educational programs.